Student: Brian Wendt, Undergraduate Student in Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa,
Research Mentor: Thomas Schnell
Improving Flight Safety with Better Cockpit Displays
While employed as a research assistant at The University of Iowa’s Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL), I have been involved in a NASA-sponsored study to improve the design of transport aircraft flight deck displays to combat flight crew spatial disorientation. This study utilized the OPL’s L-29 Delfin aerobatic jet aircraft, configured with a rear-seat experimental primary flight display to test the participants’ ability to recover from aircraft upsets.
Several display configurations were tested, including a conventional digital “blue-over-brown” attitude indicator and a Synthetic Vision presentation which simulates a clear-sky, “out-the-window” view to the pilot. The OPL’s proprietary Cognitive Avionics Tool Set (CATS) was used to monitor the participant pilots’ objective workload, along with various flight parameters such as attitude, altitude, and energy state. As an FAA-rated Airline Transport Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, I am privileged to be able to assist with this experiment in both the flight test and data analysis phases.
I am studying mechanical engineering at Iowa and would like to continue to contribute to the advancement of aviation and flight safety through improved training and technology.