General Aviation Pilots’ Capability to Interpret Aviation Weather Displays


Current literature indicates that a lack of weather knowledge and poor product interpretability may be contributing to the high probability of fatalities in general aviation weather-related accidents. Eight hundred and thirty-seven general aviation pilots completed an online aviation weather product interpretation test that asked pilots to apply information gleaned from weather hazard products for fight planning. Participants were divided into five categories of certificate/ratings.Atotal of 118 questions were divided into five separate tests and randomly distributed to the participants. A series of analyses were conducted to assess the impact of weather product and pilot certification on interpretation scores. Overall, certified private pilots scored significantly lower than certificated commercial pilots, flight instructors, and airline transport pilots. Private with instrument rating pilots scored significantly lower than certificated flight instructors and air transport pilots. Further analysis revealed that pilots scored lowest on ceiling visibility analysis, satellite, station plots, and surface prognostic products. Highest scores were associated with winds aloft, graphical turbulence, and pilot reports. The results have implications for both weather display design and pilot training.

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