The Application of Frequency Analysis Based Performance Measures as an Adjunct to Flight Path Derived Measures of Pilot Performance

Matthew Ebbatson, John Huddlestone, Don Harris, Rodney Sears

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Abstract

Measures such as the arithmetic mean error and standard deviation of error are commonly used to assess the magnitude of errors between the tracked parameter and a target value when evaluating pilot performance. Although these measures have strong validity when associated with a well-prescribed flight task that demands a high level of performance, there can be a certain dissociation between the control input behavior of the pilot and the flight path response of the aircraft, particularly in large transport types with relatively high inertia and stability. This study uses frequency-based metrics based on pilot control inputs as an adjunct to these commonly used measures to evaluate performance. Using both types of measures, findings demonstrate how the performance of 12 cadet pilots changed while undertaking a 40-hour jet orientation course on a flight training device. The results show that variation in the flight path is reduced as the cadet pilots progress through the course. At the later stages of the course, the control strategy used is characterized by more frequent but smaller amplitude control inputs. These findings suggest that frequency-based measures can provide a sensitive measure of pilot performance when directly applied to control input data, and can be a useful adjunct to more traditional measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Factors and Aerospace Safety
Volume6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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