An Exploratory Study of Pilot Observations, Decisions, and Actions During Traffic Pattern Approach Operations

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 786)


Design enhancements are often aligned with system requirements and human-systems integration user needs. With respect to general aviation (GA), there is limited human-systems integration (HSI) data when considering traffic pattern approach operations. The simplest and most fundamental beginning to the understanding of optimal pilot-aircraft integration is a mapping of pilot observations, decisions, and actions, for all legs of a typical rectangular pattern. The use of understanding these elements related to pilot attention and actions is directly related to the development of a new flight test method to map pilot cognition with aircraft dynamics. The exploratory study described in this paper reports the subjective results of six knowledge elicitation sessions with expert pilots using the critical decision method (CDM) and abstraction decomposition (protocol analysis). For the purposes of this study, expert pilots in general aviation have been identified as certified flight instructors. The results obtained from this exploratory effort provide insight into cognitive patterns that integrate observations, decisions, and actions (ODAs) made by the experts. Illustrations as concept maps are provided to describe various cognitive functions and processes present during the different pattern legs. These maps are compared among knowledge elicitation participants. It has been found in fact, that certain cues are not present, but rather embodied by routine operations within naturalized socio-complex interactions. The paper includes a table will all reported ODAs for future research purposes.


LOC Loss of control Flight test Cognitive engineering General aviation Human-systems integration Critical decision method Abstraction decomposition Knowledge elicitation Cognitive flow Pilot cognition Observations Decisions Actions ODAs Cognitive functions Cognitive processes 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Engineering and ScienceFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA

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