Aeronautics -- Human factors, Air pilots -- Job stress, Air pilots -- Workload, Airplanes -- Landing -- Simulation methods, Airplanes -- Piloting


Since human errors are one of the major causes of flight accidents, the design and operation of the modern aircraft system deals with them seriously. Particularly, the pilot workload on aviation causes human errors. Whenever new procedures are introduced and operated, the aircraft capabilities have been checked in every aspect. However, there has been little study on the impact of the new procedures such as LDLP, SCDA, SATS, and Steep Angle approach on the pilot performance, workload, and stress. In this study, different methods have been tried to understand the relationship between new procedures and the pilots in terms of performance, workload, and stress. The flight factors (e.g. flight experience, gliding angle, and approach area) were examined by the pilot performance, workload, and stress at the "Final Approach to L/D" phase using the single engine Cessna 172R type flight simulator. Five students and five instructor pilots from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Dayton Beach, Florida, participated and they flew under four different simulation tasks of gliding angle and approach area. Their Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and NASA-Task Load Index (TLX) were measured to determine their stress level and subjective workload, respectively. In addition, Landing Performance (LP) data (e.g. landing distance, landing speed) and Above Glide Path Tracking Performance (AGPTP) data were also collected to evaluate pilot performance. As a result, the type of approach area showed a significant effect on pilot performance, workload, and stress determined by ANOVA (HRV, TLX, LP, AGPTP: all are p < .05). Flying over "Populated" area (e.g. a large city) resulted in lower pilot performance and higher pilot workload and stress than that over "Non-Populated" area (e.g. a grass field). Similarly, the levels of a gliding angle showed the statistical difference on the performance, workload, and stress (HRV, TLX, and LP: all are p < .05). During the flight with 4.5 degree, the pilots showed lower performance with higher workload and stress. However, the levels of the flight experience did not have any influence on the performance, workload, and stress levels (AGPTP, LP, TLX, HRV: all are p > .05). In conclusion, flying in Populated area and flying with a 4.5 degree gliding angle increases the workload and stress level of the pilots. In addition, when the pilots were flying over Populated area at Final Approach to L/D phase, they showed lower performance on tracking the glide path. Based on the results, stresses and workload can have a significant impact on flight performance. Therefore, in order to reduce the workload and stress that can cause human errors, it is highly recommended to carefully examine the impact of new flight procedures on pilot workload and stress before they are implemented.


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Graduation Date





Lee, Gene H.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems








Release Date

December 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Engineering and Computer Science;Engineering and Computer Science -- Dissertations, Academic;

Included in

Engineering Commons