We tested variants of a mobile meteorological tablet-computer application designed to help general aviation (GA) pilots land aircraft more safely under windy conditions. This “app” compared METAR runway wind information in several graphical and textual formats. Study 1 tested 25 GA pilots on 18 runway wind scenarios. Graphical METARs depicted the runway with a large arrow at 90°, representing the crosswind speed component, and a second arrow parallel to the runway, representing the headwind/tailwind component. We hypothesized that eliminating the need for complex mental calculation of wind components would increase speed and/or accuracy of information processing. Study 2 tested 17 pilots on 24 scenarios, employing the same basic method, but enhanced by color-coding the wind-component arrows according to each pilot’s previously stated maximums for landing wind risk-tolerance. Both studies showed that runwayrelative, two-arrow wind component depictions were significantly fastest and most efficient. Pilots unanimously preferred graphical displays over textual.
Knecht, W. R.
(2019). A Tablet-Computer App Displaying Runway Winds. 20th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 462-467.