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

Dahai Liu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Shawn Doherty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dan Macchiarella, Ph.D.


Unmanned aircraft are relied on now more than ever to save lives and support the troops in the recent Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The demands for UAS capabilities are rapidly increasing in the civilian sector. However, UAS operations will not be carried out in the NAS until safety concerns are alleviated. Among these concerns is determining the appropriate level of automation in conjunction with a suitable pilot who exhibits the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to safely operate these systems.

This research examined two levels of automation: Management by Consent (MBC) and Management by Exception (MBE). User experiences were also analyzed in conjunction with both levels of automation while operating an unmanned aircraft simulator. The user experiences encompass three individual groups: Pilots, ATC, and Human Factors. Performance, workload, and situation awareness data were examined, but did not show any significant differences among the groups. Shortfalls and constraints are heavily examined to help pave the wave for future research.