Advanced Terrain Displays for Transport Category Aircraft

Advanced Terrain Displays for Transport Category Aircraft

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Advanced Terrain Displays for Transport Category Aircraft
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    Final Report January 1991 - Sept. 1991
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    A preliminary evaluation of terrain information presentation methods was conducted in a part-task simulation study. Pilots qualified on autoflight aircraft used both paper and prototypical electronic instrument approach plate formats to obtain terrain information. Approaches were flown using the MIT Aeronautical Systems Laboratory Advanced Cockpit Simulator. During the simulation, terrain situational awareness was tested by issuing erroneous vectors into terrain. Pilots successfully detected and avoided terrain hazards only 3 out of 52 times (6%). This low-hazard recognition rate is thought to be due to high level of confidence in Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearances, and highlighted the fact that current terrain depiction methods appear to be inadequate. To evaluate the increased effectiveness of advanced terrain depiction methods on electronic displays, several terrain situation display formats were designed and evaluated in a second simulation study. Spot elevation ad smoothed contour terrain presentation techniques were examined using a separate moving map display dedicated to terrain information. In addition, a prototypical Graphical Ground Proximity Warning System (GGPWS) was developed and used to solicit pilot opinions and comments. Experimental methodology followed that of the preliminary terrain depiction study closely - erroneous vectors were again given by ATC, and pilot performance and opinion data were recorded. When given vectors into terrain, there was an overall 50% hazard recognition rate when pilots used the spot elevation display, and a 78% recognition rate with the contour display. After the pilots became aware that they could not rely on ZTC for terrain separation, the hazard recognition rate increased to 62% for the spot elevation display and 93% for the contour display. Pilots were unanimously in favor of the contour display, and were receptive to a prototypical GGPWS system.
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