In-Flight Replanning and Intelligent Pilot Aids for Emergencies and Non-Nominal Flight Conditions

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Kalambi, Vittesh Vasant
Pritchett, Amy R.
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As automated cockpit systems become increasingly complex, they often become more difficult for the pilot to interact with. Such complex systems often essentially dictate methods of safe operation. Sometimes dynamic changes in situation demand re-planning the aircrafts route of flight and the pilot must use automation to accomplish this task. However, this replanning in-flight can be a difficult task. From a pilots point of view, any flight can be thought of as a plan of turns and descents, as well as changes in aircraft dynamics. Planning can be broadly classified into three categories based on a timeline for planning, namely, strategic planning, tactical planning and time-critical planning. Tactical planning, the focus of this thesis, usually occurs in an order of minutes. Although immediate safety is an important concern, other measures of efficiency (e.g. time to land, fuel burn, passenger comfort) may also be factored in by the pilot when he/she has the time to do so. The objective of this research, therefore, was to gain insight into strategies and behavior of pilots during tactical planning and the impact of automation on planning performance and behavior. The experiment studied how pilots planned their flight when given a non-nominal or an emergency situation (when the flight planning is to be performed by the pilot) and how automation can aided them in their planning. In addition to studying the planning behavior of pilots and the impact of automation on this process, this research also provided insight for development of flight deck replanning tools and a preliminary investigation of an intelligent cockpit aid capable of autonomously generating a flight plan. The complexity of such a system limits the scope of this research to examining only a simulated pre-scripted prototype of the system.
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