Currently, General Aviation (GA) pilots working toward their instrument rating (IFR) in aircraft equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology receive little, if any, formal flight instruction on GPS technology. Therefore, the hypothesis examined in this study was that instrument rated pilots already certificated to fly IFR / GPS have insufficient knowledge of the GPS technology to use it effectively. Our goal was to develop a single pilot crew, scenario-based training program to increase the knowledge and safety of pilots using this technology by focusing on GPS mode awareness, situational assessment, risk and time management, and situational awareness.. The study included thirty-four pilots who had completed their instrument rating in a GPS-equipped aircraft within the last 12 months. All participants were given Pre-experiment GPS screening tests to assess overall GPS knowledge and, more specifically, knowledge regarding the Garmin 430. Each participant underwent simulator familiarization sessions in a Frasca 142 flight simulator equipped with a panel mounted IFR approved GPS. After the familiarization sessions, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) Experimental or 2) Control. All groups then flew IFR-generated flight scenarios designed to assess their aircraft system monitoring skills (situational assessment), GPS mode awareness, situational awareness, and understanding of the Garmin 430 IFR programming. Each scenario lasted approximately 60 minutes. Following the first session, the experimental group received training sessions concentrating on mode awareness, situational awareness, time management, and situational assessment using computer based training (CBT) with a Garmin 430 simulation software program. The control group received sessions that covered basic IFR flying skills. Following the training sessions both groups flew another scenario in the Frasca 142 simulator. Each subject was video-taped to assess eye fixation in three areas of interest: 1) out the window, 2) aircraft instruments, and 3), GPS display. The results of this study revealed that a GPS scenario-based training program significantly reduced omission errors and incorrect or inappropriate use of the GPS when compared to controls. In addition, a significant effect of training versus eye gaze was observed. Pilots in the experimental group spent significantly less time gazing at the GPS following the training sessions and more time gazing at the instruments compared to controls.
Dornan, W. A.,
& Craig, P.
(2005). The Effects of a Scenario Based GPS Training Program on Pilot Proficiency in the General Aviation Pilot. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 199-202.