Decision support for the general aviation pilot
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Increasing air traffic control (ATC) requirements raises the workload of pilots. Required tasks dictate more “head-in-the-cockpit” computation, which can easily distract a pilot from safe airplane operation. Following eight years of research, we present an on-board PC-based computational system that increases pilot situational awareness, decreases diversion to routine computations, and anticipates upcoming needs. The key to anticipatory flight management is an expert system that uses knowledge of ATC procedures, aircraft operating procedures and limitations, and aircraft performance to infer current flight operating “mode” without direct pilot intervention or input. A flight mode interpreter (FMI) enables automatic display selection, pilot advice, and warning. This paper reports the development of an FMI-based flight management system, called General Aviation Pilot Advisory and Training System (GAPATS), that is being developed jointly by Texas A&M University and Knowledge Based Systems, Inc. Software development is carried out using a fixed-base engineering flight simulator. Pilot participation in all phases of development and evaluation is the norm. Flight tests have begun on an instrumented research light twin owned by the Texas A&M University Flight Mechanics Laboratory.
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aerospace expert systems
decision support systems