Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Albert Boquet, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Dahai Liu, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Michael Wiggins, Ph.D.


Angle of Attack (AOA) is an important aeronautical concept used to understand the performance status of an aircraft during different flight stages. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has indicated the importance of developing and encouraging the use of affordable AOA based systems to increase inflight safety. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's flight department decided to install AOA indicators in its fleet of Cessna 172S, to increase safety and to help student pilots better understand this important concept. This paper presents a review of AOA, visual display design principles, and usability. This experimental study examined three different AOA indicators provided by the flight department. The goal was to conduct a usability study in order to understand which of these indicators was better suited for student training. Instructor pilots were used as participants in a series of flights, in which they were asked to perform different maneuvers in which using AOA indicators was thought to help increasing stall awareness and performance. At the end of each flight participants were asked to complete a series of surveys (including an adaptation of the system usability scale) and to provide comments in order to understand their preferences related to AOA indicators. The analysis of the data shows significant differences between the indicators. Discussion of the results and recommendations for future studies are also covered.