Date of Award

Summer 2003

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

Stephen Hall, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Cunningham, Ph.D.


For years, the aviation industry has been under severe scrutiny over the safety of flight when cockpit automation is over relied on and when it is under utilized. This double-edged sword raises the question of situation awareness in aviation. With the recent boom in cockpit automation and advanced avionics some fear that the pilots are being put outside "the loop". Unfortunately, humans are notoriously poor monitors of reliable systems over time. However, research is currently being conducted into a new form of display that has the ability to group a myriad of aircraft mission and system status information onto one display, thereby providing pilots with a clear and concise view of the "big" picture, in one glance. This display utilizes a regular geometric shape generated on a polar graphic plot to indicate whether all monitored parameters are within acceptable limits. Dubbed Mission Status Graphics, the regular geometric shape will warp to a non-symmetrical form indicating that a mission or system parameter has exceeded its normal operating range. NASA Langley Research Center is currently investigating this display system for application to commercial aircraft cockpits; however, it is believed that general aviation flight safety and pilot situation awareness could also benefit from the addition of this display in future cockpit designs.

Included in

Aviation Commons