Instrument scan strategies of F-117A pilots.Aviat Space Environ Med. 2002 Oct; 73(10):1007-13.AS
Eye tracking is an accurate and objective means of measuring an instrument scan pattern. The purpose of this study was to determine if prior aircraft experience, phase of flight, and autopilot mode modified the instrument scan pattern of F-117A pilots.
There were 23 F-117A pilots, grouped by prior aircraft experience, who flew an instrument approach manually and with autopilot while wearing an El Mar eye tracker in the F-117A simulator at Holloman AFB, NM. Number of fixations, dwell time, and percent total dwell time spent on nine individual instruments were collected and analyzed.
The primary flight instrument was determined on the basis of pilot experience, and usage of the primary flight instrument varied significantly with phase of flight and manual vs. autopilot when ANOVA analysis was performed.
Prior aircraft experience affects development of an instrument scan in a new aircraft. Prolonged dwell times on the primary flight instrument and changes in fixations/dwell time during autopilot mode have implications for instrument and cockpit design as well as cognitive load during novel situations. Further studies should be pursued.