Date of Award

4-2017

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics

Department

Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Andrew Dattel, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Debbie Schaum, M.A.

Second Committee Member

Christopher Herbster, Ph.D.

Abstract

Prior to a flight, pilots gather meteorological information to assess the weather conditions pertaining to their flight and to make decisions based on it. This information can come in various formats, such as text and graphical weather information. Research has shown that people have varying learning preferences and that most people prefer visual learning to verbal learning (i.e., graphical over text). It is hypothesized that this difference in learning preference can affect the way pilots interpret and apply the information they obtain prior to their flight. The researcher hypothesizes that graphical weather information has a greater, more positive impact on a pilot’s situation awareness in meteorology than textual weather information. For this study, 20 participants were recruited and presented with two sets of weather information and were then asked to fly two different cross-country flights using the weather information provided. While flying, participants were asked SPAM questions to assess their situation awareness in meteorology. The results showed graphical weather information to be better than textual weather information for the participants’ situation awareness in meteorology. Additional correlations showed evidence that people with both a high preference for visual learning and verbal learning can benefit from graphical weather information over textual weather information. Finally, the data collected indicated that the lack of meteorology training could be a factor in the misinterpretation of weather information. The implications for the findings of this study as well as opportunities for future research are discussed.

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