Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Aeronautical Science


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Daniel Garland

Committee Member

Dr. John Wise

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Gilson


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of intruder vertical rate on pilots’ perception of aircraft separation as viewed on a cockpit traffic display. A group of 20 student pilots from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University participated as subjects. SuperCard® software and a Macintosh II® personal computer were employed to generate the simulation of a cockpit display of traffic information. Each pilot monitored 84 scenarios in which they had to perceive how far away a single intruder would pass over or under their own aircraft. The pilots’ decision time, vertical and horizontal distance at decision time and percentage of correct/incorrect answers were determined from the experimental data. Vertical rate was found to significantly effect pilots’ predictions of vertical separation at the passing point and that pilot error rates increased with increasing intruder vertical rate. This result must be weighed with the randomization error present during the experiment.

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