Date of Award

Spring 2020

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


College of Aviation

Committee Chair

Dr. Clint R. Balog

First Committee Member

Dr. Dennis A. Vincenzi

College Dean

Dr. Kenneth Witcher


This study examined the effects of age on new technology, touchscreens, automation, and the interaction with pilot performance. Touchscreens have been introduced on the aviation flight deck, combining all pilot tasks in one device in multiple locations. This study is one of the first to examine pilots, touchscreens and age. Previous studies focused on vibration, turbulence, interfaces, ergonomics, and location for incorporating them on the flight deck. This was conducted as an online survey with pilots that have worked with touchscreens in flight operations. The results found that age has an effect on pilots interacting and working with touchscreens. This effect was found with pilots age 60 and above, but there were issues within all age groups interacting and working with touchscreens. Finding the information or path was one issue, as well as layout, design and interface mentioned by all age groups. More training, using actual touchscreens or training devices exactly replicating them, and repetition were stated as ways to alleviate these issues. The amount of touch sensitivity and pressure that are needed to interact and accomplish tasks was another issue that was stated. There is a misunderstanding in some pilots about the differences in devices and touchscreens, capacitive and resistive touch, and the reasons for this. Some pilots that understood the differences still wanted a capacitive touchscreen, like personal devices. The researcher noted that completion of the entire survey from the participants increased as the age increased and the youngest age category had the highest dropout rate.