Performance Vs. Workload Matrix of Primary Flight Training: Exploratory Study

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Gajapriya TamilselvanNurettin DinlerStephen Belt

Abstract: Workload is a well-established metric to evaluate how pilots meet their task demands in flight. Workload is intertwined with human performance. Existing literature did not classify whether the pilots are overworked or underworked and how that relates to their inflight task demands and experience. Objective: To explore the relationships between performance and workload of pilots in a primary flight training environment. Method: In this exploratory study, we measured physical workload parameters by recording the flight control deflections of elevator and aileron and how they deviated from reference pitch and bank attitudes. We quantified flight performance by computing deviations between actual and desired altitude/heading parameters. Our study included a sample of twenty students and flight instructors from a Part 141 flight training school. Experimental stimuli for participants involved three instrument flight sessions in an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) with ceiling and visibility set to unlimited, calm winds and light turbulent conditions. Participants were briefed to complete a preset flight pattern with seven segments twice per session. Flight segments were straight-and-level flight, level turns at a rate of 3 deg/s, a 500 ft/min climb and descent, and two airspeed changes. Spearman’s correlation tests were used to examine the relationships between performance and workload data between sessions. Results: Significant relationships between flight performance and physical workload parameters emerged from the data. Elevator workload was positively correlated with altitude performance across all flight sessions. There were positive relationships between elevator workload and heading performance during the first two sessions and no significant relationship in the last session. Aileron workload was inversely related to how much the pilots deviated from desired altitude performance. Aileron workload and heading performance were inversely related during the first and the last sessions, except for the second session. The research findings were limited in relation to generalizability to the population. Conclusion: This study’s results provide deeper insights into how pilots’ performance relates to physical workload parameters in a primary flight training setting. This study’s information elucidates the flight training community about skill development among Part 141 pilots and further provides a framework to develop evidence-based training strategies. Future research focuses on classifying the pilots’ performance and workload into high/medium/low categories, investigating the nature of relationships, developing interactions, and relating them to pilot demographics.

Keywords: flight training, Part 141, workload, performance, AATD

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003166

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