Date of Award

Spring 5-1995

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Aeronautical Science


Aeronautical Science

Committee Chair

John A. Wise

Committee Member

Mark W. Smolensky

Committee Member

Jefferson M. Koonce

Committee Member

Daniel J. Garland


This study was founded on the premise that airplane cockpit operations, while generally safe and relatively efficient, can be made even more so by employing instrument displays which are potentially more intuitive than existing displays. A low fidelity flight simulator was used to conduct an experiment comparing the performance of twenty-four instrument rated pilot subjects on a two axis tracking task (an Instrument Landing System Approach) under three instrument display conditions: (1) conventional instruments (INST); (2) a Pathway-in-the-Sky (PITS) display; and (3) a combination of the two (BOTH). The primary hypothesis, that pilot performance using the PITS and BOTH display configurations would be more accurate than when using conventional instruments, was accepted. The results indicated that no significant difference existed between performance under the PITS and BOTH conditions; however, performance was significantly better under either the PITS or BOTH conditions than under the INST condition. The study concluded that use of the PITS and BOTH displays yielded superior performance on the tracking task, and that if performance on the low-fidelity flight simulator is ever at all a predictor of performance in an actual aircraft, then the PITS and BOTH displays might yield superior performance in actual flight, potentially resulting in safer instrument flight operations.