Factors Affecting Task Management in Aviation

Concerns have been raised that the compelling nature of flight deck tunnel displays renders the task they support more resistant to interruptions, thus preventing the pilot from noticing cues signaling the need to divert attention to other tasks. This paper investigates the influence of ongoing task display "compellingness" on attention allocation patterns and assesses its interaction with interrupting task salience and importance. In the study, 40 pilots flew three curved approaches in a high-fidelity simulation using a synthetic vision system display. In addition to the primary task of flying, during the last approach they were required to select the approach path on the basis of environmental information concerning weather. The display layout supporting the primary flight task (tunnel vs. baseline display), the nature of the cue signaling the need to divert attention to the path selection task (visual vs. auditory-visual cue), and the cost of not performing the secondary task were manipulated to investigate their influence on task prioritization. Results indicate that the modality and priority of the cue affected the frequency of the switch to the secondary task. Furthermore, pilots flying with a tunnel display were more likely to detect the change in the weather and were easily interrupted by the secondary task when priority was high. These findings suggest that the negative consequences of the compelling nature of the tunnel display may not be as significant as thought.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Iani, Cristina
    • Wickens, Christopher D
  • Publication Date: 2007-2


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 16-24
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044737
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 17 2007 10:35PM