Development and Evaluation of an Automated Path Planning Aid
Christmann, Hans Claus
Johnson, Eric N.
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Handling en route emergencies in modern transport aircraft through adequate teamwork between the pilot, the crew and the aircraft’s automation systems is an ongoing and active field of research. An automated path planning aid tool can assist pilots with the tasks of selecting a convenient landing site and developing a safe path to land at this site in the event of an onboard emergency. This paper highlights the pilot evaluation results of a human factors study as part of such a proposed automated planning aid. Focusing on the interactions between the pilot and the automated planning aid, the presented results suggest that a particular implementation of the pilot aid interface, which uses a simple dial to sort the most promising landing sites, was effective. This selectable sorting capability, motivated by the anticipated cognitive mode of the pilot crew, improved the quality of the selected site for the majority of the cases tested. Although the presented approach increased the average time required for the selection of an alternate landing site, it decreased the time to complete the task in the case of emergencies unfamiliar to the pilot crew.