Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Ralph D. Kimberlin

Committee Members

Charles Paludan, Robert Richards


As we have progressed into the 21st Century, the general aviation (GA) cockpit has been slow to evolve to keep pace with the advances in technology and research that have been applied to the avionics displays for military and civil commercial aviation applications. GA cockpits are just now beginning to reflect the benefits of these advances The increased use of human factors research in the design of GA avionics displays has led to the awareness of the importance of improved information presentation and data cueing As a result, instrument panels are integrating a variety of highly configurable electronic, full-color, hierarchical in design, multifunction displays (MFD) These MFDs are being utilized for inserting a significant increase of coded and processed information into the often display-cluttered aircraft cockpit for use by the GA pilot. MFDs, coded and formatted properly, can aid the GA pilot in an overall increase in situational awareness (SA) of both the aircraft's performance and the surrounding flight environment. In addition, many of these new MFDs have the capability to combine and integrate multiple data inputs onto a single display sometimes referred to as "Data Fusion." In a similar vein, as “data fused” MFDs proliferate, the number of single functionality avionics system displays and control boxes can be reduced and replaced by MFD systems with multiple roles and capabilities. This will increase the available instrument panel space for additional or redundant components This thesis will investigate applicable human factors research and see how advanced GA avionics technologies are evolving as a result. This thesis will also discuss systems that should be incorporated in GA aircraft to improve SA for pilots in the GA aircraft sector.

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