The Effects of Display Type, Weather Type, and Pilot Experience on Pilot Interpretation of Weather Products
The majority of general aviation (GA) accidents involving adverse weather result in fatalities. Considering the high weather-related fatality rate among GA flight operations, it is imperative to ensure that GA pilots of all experience levels can incorporate available weather information into their flight planning. In the past decade, weather product development has incorporated increasing levels of automation, which has led to the generation of high-resolution, model-based aviation displays such as graphical turbulence guidance and current icing potential, which rival the resolution of radar and satellite imagery. This is in stark contrast to the traditional polygonal-based displays of aviation weather hazards (G-AIRMETs and SIGMETs). It is important to investigate the effects of these changes on the end user. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the interpretability of weather products for two areas of interest: display type (traditional polygons vs. model-based imagery) and type of weather phenomena (ceiling/visibility, turbulence, and icing), across a range of pilot experience levels. Two hundred and four participants completed a series of weather product interpretation questions. The results indicated significant effects of product display type, as well as significant effects of weather phenomena and pilot experience on product interpretation. Further investigation is needed to assess possible extraneous variables.