Used GPSsimcable to practice my demo flight in the Eclipse jet.
Used GPSsimcable to practice my demo flight in the Eclipse jet.
iPad® in Aviation: Mastering the Human Factors
As pilots, we are very fortunate to be experiencing the advent of the iPad in aviation. Never before in the history of flight has so much information been available in such an accessible medium. If you think about it, it’s probably a similar feeling to what pilots experienced when Capt. Jeppesen first produced an airway manual. Valuable, usable, concise information, in an easy to carry package, designed with the pilot in mind. And the information was presented in a visually pleasing format that made the complex simple.
The iPad has the potential to deliver an even greater experience, but it must conform to your needs and make your tasks easier. Here are some tips from the human factors perspective to make the iPad an asset to your piloting instead of a liability.
1. Use Intuitive Apps
Believe it or not, technology like the iPad can be a double-edged sword when it comes to a pilot’s performance. For example, a digital list of charts for an airport puts a great deal of quickly accessible information at your fingertips. However, that list of chart titles can easily become a hunt for a needle in a haystack. In this situation, having an application that categorizes your charts so that you can navigate to the exact chart you need within seconds can be a lifesaver. Using innovative, user-centered applications like Mobile FliteDeck can be a big step toward counteracting information overload.
2. Train for Using the iPad
It is also important to train yourself on the features of your iPad applications to make sure you aren’t learning them for the first time while you are flying the airplane. It doubtful that you learned to read a Jeppesen chart for the first time while flying an ILS, so take time to learn the system on the ground until you are comfortable with the workflow.
3. Preflight the iPad
You wouldn’t hop into an airplane and taxi to the runway without doing a preflight check and looking at critical items such as fuel, control surfaces and oil, would you? The same thinking should be applied to the information that you will use for your flight. Make certain that you can access the information you need without network connectivity by putting the iPad in Airplane Mode while you are still on the ground. You can “preflight” your charts and data to ensure that you have what you will need to complete the flight. One of the heaviest workload periods in a flight is the approach, and when ATC sidesteps you to a LOC on the parallel runway probably isn’t the best time to find out that you don’t have the chart.
4. Limit Head-down Time and Distraction
One of the most troublesome human factor problems that we face as pilots is the tendency to fixate and let one source of information dominate our scan. It takes many hours of instrument training with an instructor to build up a good scan – and that was without an iPad. Now that charts, weather, manuals, calculators, email and even Facebook are all competing for your attention, you have to make some conscious decisions about how to maintain a safe and disciplined scan. You can start by establishing a cue for when to look up from the iPad. Many instructors have been teaching “three taps then look up.” This is an excellent way to avoid fixation. Another important practice is turning off non-essential notifications and applications while in the cockpit. That way you eliminate potential distractions before they happen.
5. Understand the Limits of the Information
Much of what we’ve been talking about here is covered in principals of Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM) and Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM). An important part of ADM and SRM is knowing what information is available and its intended use. For example, you may have what appears to be a five minute old snapshot of NEXRAD returns. As most pilots know, radar is an invaluable tool in avoiding thunderstorms. So using that data to understand the general location of thunderstorms is an aid to good decision making. However, as was outlined in the NTSB’s recent Safety Alert, NEXRAD information is a composite of multiple radar sites, and the actual age may be 15-20 minutes older than what is timestamped on the image. That is long enough for a thunderstorm to move right over the airport you thought was in the clear. So, additional information such as AWOS observations, a call to Flight Watch, or ARTCC may need to be used to reach a good decision.
The iPad also provides the ability to show information about your aircraft position, using a built-in or external GPS receiver. Again, this information can be a tremendous aid to a pilot. Jeppesen recently conducted a study with a business aviation operator involving aircraft position (own-ship) on airport diagrams where pilots reported improved positional awareness during taxi operations.
However, these position indications can cause confusion if they vary from primary instrument readings. Additionally, complacency can set in if these position depictions are too heavily relied upon. Either condition can result in an unsafe increase in workload when the going gets tough. As a remedy, consider occasionally disabling these position features in your apps, flying with only the certified panel-mounted instruments and using the iPad charts without an own-ship. This will help keep your focus on the right sources of navigation information.
By taking a few steps to ensure you and your iPad are ready for flight, you can take advantage of the wealth of information and capabilities that these new technologies provide. And you’ll be enjoying a usable, concise, easy to carry flight bag just like Capt Jepp would have wanted.
Welcome to the first issue of Jeppesen Pilot Report! We will be delivering the latest tips and information, for pilots, from pilots on a monthly basis. If you have suggestions for articles, please drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org and we will consider the topic for a future edition!
About Jeff Williamseff Williams is a human factors engineer and pilot. As a member of both the Mobile FliteDeck design team and the Standards team at Jeppesen, he is passionate about creating products that are user-centered and uphold the high standard that pilots expect from Jeppesen. Jeff also works closely within the industry and with regulators to help usher in the new era of tablet-based EFBs.
For More Information
If you would like more information about Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck and how to use charts on your iPad,please click here.
Did You Know?
Jeppesen’s first digital chart was offered in 1996 which paved the way to the Mobile FliteDeck App.
FlightGear is an open-source flight simulator. It supports a variety of popular platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.) and is developed by skilled volunteers from around the world. Source code for the entire project is available and licensed under the GNU General Public License.
The goal of the FlightGear project is to create a sophisticated and open flight simulator framework for use in research or academic environments, pilot training, as an industry engineering tool, for DIY-ers to pursue their favorite interesting flight simulation idea, and last but certainly not least as a fun, realistic, and challenging desktop flight simulator. We are developing a sophisticated, open simulation framework that can be expanded and improved upon by anyone interested in contributing.
There are many exciting possibilities for an open, free flight sim. We hope that this project will be interesting and useful to many people in many areas.
FlightGear is a free flight simulator project. It is being developed through the gracious contributions of source code and spare time by many talented people from around the globe. Among the many goals of this project are the quest to minimize short cuts and “do things right”, the quest to learn and advance knowledge, and the quest to have better toys to play with.
The idea for Flight Gear was born out of a dissatisfaction with current commercial PC flight simulators. A big problem with these simulators is their proprietariness and lack of extensibility. There are so many people across the world with great ideas for enhancing the currently available simulators who have the ability to write code, and who have a desire to learn and contribute. Many people involved in education and research could use a spiffy flight simulator frame work on which to build their own projects; however, commercial simulators do not lend themselves to modification and enhancement. The Flight Gear project is striving to fill these gaps.
There are a wide range of people interested and participating in this project. This is truly a global effort with contributors from just about every continent. Interests range from building a realistic home simulator out old airplane parts, to university research and instructional use, to simply having a viable alternative to commercial PC simulators.
GPSsimcable is now compatible with Elite Flight Simulator 8.6
Developed over 20 years ago, ELITE revolutionized the way pilots train all over the world by using the power of the personal computer. From beginning instrument students to ATPs, ELITE provides a professional flight simulation environment where and when you are ready to train. Whether the aircraft is simple, complex, high performance, multi-engine piston or turboprop, ELITE has the necessary detail to provide a superior training experience. All switches, knobs, buttons and levers, are fully functional allowing complete start-up to shutdown, as well as emergency procedural practice. Each photo realistic aircraft cockpit panel is a beautifully rendered, high-resolution replica of that found in the actual aircraft. All avionics and associated instrumentation, including the GPS, function exactly as their real world counterpart. ELITE is not just a basic IFR simulator, but a complete training platform.
Wed, Oct 10, 2012
ForeFlight Mobile for the iPad is already one of the most-used aviation apps in the world, but the company wants to make it better by testing how pilots really use the software in the cockpit. To that end, ForeFlight will record students, instructors and participating pilots flying simulators and real aircraft at the Redbird Skyport in San Marcos, Texas. The studies will offer insights to drive app development based on observed pilot needs. New features and hardware can then be tested in the same environment for immediate feedback. “We created the Skyport as an open laboratory for everybody to use,” says Jerry Gregoire, Chairman of Redbird Flight Simulations who operates the Skyport.
The week of December 3-7 ForeFlight’s development team will converge on the Skyport for their first annual Code and Fly Hack Week, where they will work out new features and jump in the sim to test them. The developers will also hold open lunches during the week where any pilots in the area can join them to meet the team or get help with ForeFlight Mobile. “The large conference room and access to aircraft and training make it a great place to host a week of coding and flying,” says ForeFlight Principle Tyson Weils. “Maybe we’ll hack an extra rating onto our certificates, too.
Additionally, Redbird and ForeFlight have partnered on a broader plan for integrating ForeFlight into pilot training and Redbird’s Migration curriculum, a simulation-centric flight-training program now in use in the Skyport’s Part 141 flight school. ForeFlight will explore additional functions to make the iPad a better tool for training from preflight through postflight, as well as a cockpit resource. This effort is aided by Redbird’s Cygnus hardware, which lets an iPad used in a Redbird simulator, or at a desktop simulation, behave exactly as it would in flight.
By Bethany Whitfield / Published: Sep 05, 2012
Florida engineers believe this supersonic jet
could eliminate sonic boom.
Photo: University of Miami
One particularly eye-catching design for a fuel-efficient supersonic jet has captured the interest of NASA, which awarded the group behind the airplane a $100,000 grant to further explore its potential.
The design features a bi-directional flying wing with a shape that resembles a ninja star. The craft, thought up by engineers at theUniversity of Miami and Florida State University, is symmetric about both longitudinal and span axes and would adjust to different speed modes in flight by rotating 90 degrees, according to the proposal.
Developers say the rotating design would allow it to overcome a key problem posed by supersonic passenger aircraft – the need to combine supersonic flight with the ability to land and takeoff at more manageable speeds without compromising performance.
Engineers behind the project say the aircraft would reduce supersonic wave drag and essentially eliminate sonic boom, thanks to a smooth ground over pressure signature.
University of Miami aerospace engineering professor Ge-Chen Zha, who is leading the project, referred to the design as “audacious thinking” in a recent university news piece, and says he hopes to create a new practical supersonic passenger-carrying airplane within the next 20 to 30 years.
The grant won by Zha and his team was awarded as part of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program, which seeks to “be an incubator for a multitude of high risk-high payoff ideas that, if successful, will transition for further development.”