Development and evaluation of a cockpit decision-aid for emergency trajectory generation

T. L. Chen, A. R. Pritchett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The application of intelligent cockpit systems is examined to aid air transport pilots at the task of planning and then following a safe four-dimensional trajectory to the runway threshold during emergencies. The design of a proof-of-concept system is described, including the use of embedded fast-time simulation to predict the trajectory defined by a series of discrete actions, the models of aircraft and pilot dynamics required by the system, and the pilot interface. Then results of a flight simulator evaluation with airline pilots are detailed. In 6 of 72 simulator runs, pilots were not able to establish a stable flight path on localizer and glideslope, suggesting a need for cockpit aids. However, results also suggest that, to be operationally feasible, such an aid must be capable of suggesting safe trajectories to the pilot; an aid that only verified plans entered by the pilot was found to have significantly detrimental effects on performance and pilot workload. Results also highlight that the trajectories suggested by the aid must capture the context of the emergency; for example, in some emergencies pilots were willing to violate flight envelope limits to reduce time in flight, in other emergencies the opposite was found.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-943
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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