Date of Award

5-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Richard Ranaudo

Committee Members

Alfonso Pujol, Frank Collins

Abstract

The United States Navy has begun an initiative to upgrade the existing MH-53E aircraft from an analogue gauge cockpit to a digital glass cockpit. In order to assess the capability of the digital cockpit to perform the Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) mission as effectively as the analogue cockpit a human factors engineering analysis was conducted comparing the pros and cons for each cockpit. The primary focus of the paper was on the physical ergonomic characteristics of the AMCM cockpit. A limited analysis was also conducted evaluating some of the physical and mental workloads required for executing an AMCM mission. To determine which cockpit could best support the AMCM mission, distances from the pilot to AMCM controls and displays and distances between AMCM displays were measured. The number of key strokes and the mental calculations required to complete certain tasks were also measured. It was found that the AMCM controls and displays in the MH-53E digital cockpit were better grouped, more salient, and better labeled than the analogue cockpit. It was also found that the physical and mental workloads in the digital cockpit were less when performing certain AMCM related tasks. Overall, from a human factors perspective, the digital cockpit was determined to be better suited in carrying out the AMCM mission.

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