College of Aeronautics

College of Aeronautics

Information Integration on the Flight Deck

As information becomes more and more integrated on the flight deck, pilots have the opportunity to access, and make decisions based on greater amounts of data from a range of different sources.  Florida Tech's College of Aeronautics is currently being funded by the FAA to examine the Human Factors (HF) considerations associated with information integration on the flight deck, including what information is being integrated, how the information is being integrated and what the implications are for pilot decision making.  The project will review the relevant literature and safety/accident reports, survey and interview pilots across general aviation and air transport domains, and conduct a simulation study.

Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Usability

College of Aeronautics faculty and a graduate student teamed with a major US air carrier to perform a usability analysis of an EFB application currently used by the air carrier.  The Florida Tech team provided redesign recommendations to the air carrier’s EFB team that were aimed to increase usability of the EFB and streamline pilot performance.  If implemented, the redesign recommendations are predicted to decrease time to complete one of the key preflight preparation tasks by almost 50%.

Physiological Sensor Technology

College of Aeronautics faculty and students are utilizing advanced physiological sensor technology to assess unobservable aspects of human performance such as workload, stress, and engagement.  These measures provide insight into cognitive processes, providing an extra layer of diagnosticity in our human performance research.

Aviation Meteorology

Ongoing research on pilot reports (PIREPs) of microbursts began as a graduate student project in AVS 5201 Aviation Meteorology Theory and Practice.  Microbursts, which are strong downdrafts produced by some thunderstorms, are a known aviation hazard due to the strong wind shear associated with them. This research is assessing the quality of the microburst PIREPs using corroborating observations such as National Weather Service NEXRAD radar, satellite imagery, storm reports, and nearby meteorological observations (METARs).

Runway Incursions

College of Aeronautics faculty have had three research grants funded from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to work on runway incursion research.  The research grants addressed the following:

Comprehensive analysis of the root causes of general aviation runway incursions.

Analyze accidents and incidents that occurred at or near airports to identify actual or potential airport risks.

Evaluate human factors issues concerning airport markings, signage and lighting and make recommendations to address identified gaps.

Root Causes of Aviation Accidents

Oak Ridge Affiliated Universities (ORAU) is collaborating with the College of Aeronautics in creating bowtie and incident analysis diagrams of aviation accidents. The risk assessment research investigates all possible adverse events and all possible causes of the event for a specific hazard.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Florida Tech's College of Aeronautics is currently funded by the Air Force Research Lab to identify and empirically evaluate measures and interventions to increase learner engagement during UAS training. This research has developed and empirically evaluated an applied model of learner engagement.  The research effort also identified physiological measures to quantify learner engagement and interventions to increase engagement during training.  Based on this research, Florida Tech is teaming with Design Interactive, Inc. to develop a training tool to increase the training effectiveness of UAS training.

Research Supporting Space Exploration

The College of Aeronautics faculty collaborates with Biology on ongoing research in the RADISH (Research to Advance the Development of InterStellar Horticulture) project. With upcoming plans for the Deep Space Gateway, and Lunar and Mars colonies being discussed, understanding how to best support these efforts is key. We are evaluating in situ resource utilization (ISRU) for the growth of food on Mars.