Date of Award

Fall 2009

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Shawn Doherty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jason Kring, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mike Wiggins, Ph.D.


There have been a number of important advances in aviation technology that have made the safety rating of flying the best that it has ever been. One of the most important advances made has been in the interface that the pilot relies on for their most critical information during flight. New aviation displays have empirically shown a wide range of improvements across pilot performance. Despite these improvements, there is still a high possibility that pilots may miss pertinent information that changes may occur simultaneously with some sort of distraction - a concept known as change blindness. This study analyzed how pilots use their primary flight display during a change blindness paradigm in conjunction with an eye tracker to investigate the link between where the pilot was visually looking and the instruments they were attending. Patterns indicated that pilots use a hub-and-spoke eye scanning pattern during normal flight, focusing mostly in the center of the display. Despite this, change blindness had little effect, emphasizing the display's inherent ease of use.

Included in

Aviation Commons