Reviewing the role of cockpit alerting systems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

63 Citations (SciVal)


Alerting systems are a prevalent part of modem cockpits, involved in a wide range of piloting tasks. This increasing prevalence corresponds with the increasing capability of modem alerting systems, which have sophisticated, complex algorithms referencing many input sources. The role(s) of the cockpit alerting system have expanded beyond the attention-director role normally covered in the research literature, including nuisances, desired cues, overloads, task management aids, initiators of procedures, and command devices. Some of these roles may be unintended by the designer, be problematic in terms of operational safety, or obstruct the pilot from having cognitive involvement in resolving hazards. These roles imply several problems which highlight operational issues and reveal open research topics. Some of these problems can be solved through widely-recognised measures, such as the reduction of false alarms. Other problems may be more difficult to solve; framed in automation terms, alerting systems are inherently clumsy with an opaque interface into their functioning. The most authoritative alerting systems are also prone to under- and over-reliance, and to conflicts between the authority and responsibility of the pilot. The safety benefits of alerting systems have been widely noted; however, without consideration of these human factors issues there may be a limit to further improvements in safety achievable by the addition of more alerting systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Factors and Aerospace Safety
Subtitle of host publicationAn International Journal: No.1
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781315203942
ISBN (Print)9781138636323
StatePublished - Nov 30 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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