In partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Weather Technology in the Cockpit (WTIC) and the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility, and Sustainability (PEGASAS) Programs, Project 4 has investigated weather technology for General Aviation (GA), specifically regarding pilots' awareness of technological constraints, weather implications, and understanding of weather information as conveyed by onboard displays.
Our project team hails from four (4) research institutions: Purdue University, Texas A&M University, Western Michigan University, and The Ohio State University. Over the past several years, we have worked to establish the current baseline of weather-related GA incidents, technologies, training, and alerting to better understand where improvements can be made. Additionally, our team has developed products for different user populations to aid in improving these areas.
Considering the size and scope of the problem, and the actors that can work towards solutions, the target populations for this research include:
- Pilot Operators - to engage, learn, and improve weather-related decisions
- Ground Instructors & Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs) - to incorporate findings into pilot instruction; to encourage use of technology products (below) in pilot education
- Aviation Researchers - to investigate and improve aspects of GA weather information presentation and safety in the cockpit
- Human Factors Researchers - to investigate alerting, situation awareness, and decision-making aspects of GA
Now in its fourth phase, Project 4 is producing products related to GA pilot education and research. In order to make these products accessible and understandable to these different populations, we are publishing these products through PURR using a “FlightHUB” information distribution concept. These products include:
- Common weather traps experienced in GA situations
- Weather Information Latency Demonstrator (WILD) aviation training device
- Flight environments that highlight the weather traps referenced above
- Minimum weather service recommendations
- Experiential education modules for at-home and pilot-education environments
- New capabilities for automated tools in the cockpit (including PIREP generation and speech recognition)
- Use of smartwatches and other tools for “alerting-by-feel” in a busy visual environment