Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Andrew Dattel, Ph.D., CPE.

First Committee Member

Nickolas D. Macchiarella, Ph.D.


SAFTE-VAT is a virtual air traffic control systems that adds the capability to integrate automated air traffic control functionality and generate semiautonomous and autonomous air traffic to the Frasca 172S level 6 plus FTD to improve behavioral fidelity and to facilitate flight instructors the capacity to focus more on instructing student pilots instead of role-playing ATC duties. While SAFTE-VAT may offer a more realistic ATC interaction experience onboard the FTD that may result in a positive transfer of training increase, the effects on flight instructors’ situation awareness and overall student pilot performance are uncertain. In this small study, flight instructors and instrument student pilots were observed completing while lesson 32 of the FA221 instrument course was onboard a Frasca 172S level 6 plus FTD with and without the use of SAFTE-VAT. During each FTD lesson 32 flight instructors were queried to test for situation awareness. Student performance data was collected upon completion of each FTD lesson and analyzed. The results revealed the possibility of situation awareness decrease during periods of low FTD activity levels when SAFTE-VAT was used. Student performance data favored the lessons conducted without the SAFTE-VAT.