Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Comparison of Pilot Upset Recovery Performance in Simulation and Flight
by Reuter, Christopher Michael, M.S., The University of Iowa, 2019, 107; 27666684
Abstract (Summary)

Loss of control in-flight (LOC-I) has historically been the leading cause of commercial airline fatalities. In 2009, an investigation of LOC-I accidents revealed four primary causal factors, citing human factors errors as one of the factors. The investigation discovered that one reason for the human errors was due to deficiencies in pilot training from aircraft stalls and upsets. These deficiencies led the FAA and similar international organizations to implement upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) guidelines for commercial air transport aircraft.

The aviation industry uses flight simulators as part of a comprehensive program for pilot training and certification requirements. Although flight simulators can possess a high level of realism, deficiencies remain. Many pilots find simulators to be easier than their real-world counterparts. Even with a high-fidelity FFS, simulator training currently cannot accurately reproduce essential factors that are considered to be within the safety margins of the aircraft, such as roll and pitch rates and g-loading, all of which can lead to high levels of altitude loss, if not managed correctly.

This thesis compared upset recovery maneuvers between a simulator and live flight. The study used in the research required the pilots to recover from an upset condition while also performing an additional task of serially adding two numbers. The secondary task provided a physiological baseline cognitive workload measurement that was used to compare the pilots’ increased workload levels during the recovery phase of the flight.

The results indicated that the pilots generally performed better during the simulator flights and had less subjective workload and high levels of situation awareness. The physiological-based workload contrasted subjective measures. However, during a live flight upset recovery, pilots may not be able to transfer the skills acquired from a flight simulator and experience higher levels of workload and reduced levels of situation awareness, increasing their potential for an unsuccessful recovery. Suggestions are made that include more use of live aircraft aerobatic training for UPRT and the use of a physiological-based, unbiased workload assessment during pilot training. Additionally, it is suggested using an adaptive training approach to UPRT that incorporates the primary technical flight performance metrics with secondary task performance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schnell, Thomas
Commitee: McGehee, Daniel V, Pennathur, Priyadarshini
School: The University of Iowa
Department: Industrial Engineering
School Location: United States -- Iowa
Source: MAI 81/8(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Industrial engineering, Aerospace engineering, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Aviation, Flight, Simulator, Situational awareness, Workload
Publication Number: 27666684
ISBN: 9781392603697
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