Date of Award

Spring 1998

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Aeronautical Science


Aeronautical Science

Committee Chair

Dr. Gerald D. Gibb

Committee Member

Dr. Daniel J. Garland

Committee Member

Dr. Bruce E. Hamilton


Increasing levels of technology have changed the task of flying modern helicopter cockpits by allowing many crew functions to be performed automatically. This study attempted to understand the relation between automation and helicopter crew coordination. Twenty-eight helicopter pilots were assigned to two-person crews and asked to fly a simulated mission in either automated or manual conditions using a low-fidelity helicopter simulator. Communication was transcribed and coded into a nine-category content classification system by two trained raters. The inter-rater reliability was +.84. Results indicated that a higher frequency of total communications was demonstrated during manual flights. The interaction of Pilot Position by Automation Level was significant (p<.05) for three of the communication content categories: Observations, Suggestions, Statements of Intent. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for communications and Crew Resource Management (CRM) training for crews flying advanced technology helicopters.

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Aviation Commons