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The Effects of Age and Recency of Experience on the Completion of Complex Tasks in A Technologically Advanced Aircraft Abs...
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Homko Purdue Thesis Virtual Poster


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Poster for my thesis "The effects of age and recency of experience in the completion of complex tasks in technologically advanced aircraft". Won first place at the Purdue Aviation Technology Graduate Poster Symposium.

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Homko Purdue Thesis Virtual Poster

  1. 1. The Effects of Age and Recency of Experience on the Completion of Complex Tasks in A Technologically Advanced Aircraft Abstract A Human Factors in Aviation MS Thesis by: Chris Homko, Advisors: Dr. Chien-Tsung Lu, Dr. Stewart Schreckengast, Professor Brian Dillman When the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instituted the FAA industry training standards (FITS) program in 1995, it was expected that FITS would mitigate the hazards present in technologically advanced aircraft (TAA) accidents. The 2010 Leon Groff NTSB report on TAA accidents rates does not support this conclusion. The Groff report showed that TAA have a higher fatal accident rate than conventional instrument equipped aircraft. The statistics also indicate that the pilots involved in these accidents are older and more experienced. This is a qualitative study which attempts to observe the effects of age and recency of experience in the completion of complex tasks using a Technologically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). All participants were asked to perform 10 non-flight systems tasks using a G1000 personal computer (PC) simulation program that increases in complexity (number of steps required to perform the function). The time to complete each of the ten tasks was recorded. The spacial dimensions of procedure, memory, attention, and technique were scored on a scale of 0 to 4 with 0 being no error. It was expected that the observations would show no significant differences in the age groups for those who have had recent G1000 experience and significant differences in age groups of those who do not have recent G1000 experience (30+days). The results of this preliminary study seem to confirm the results seen in past human factors studies on age and learning. Older age participants seemed to perform tasks slightly slower than younger participants. Recency of experience may played a more significant role which resulted in lower task completion rates, especially in the older age group. It is theorized that initial training and frequency of use may be the greatest factors that affect task completion regardless of age in TAA. Introduction Methods <ul><li>Research Questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does age effect the time to complete tasks in a technologically advanced aircraft (TAA)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does recency of experience effect the time to complete tasks in a TAA? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experiment (3 parts): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-test survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10 G1000 non-flight tasks ranging from simple to complex (complex = more buried in menus) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 1: Change the PFD and MFD backlighting to 80% </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 2: Set the speed bugs to GLIDE 75, Vr 60, Vx 65, and Vy 78 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 3: Enter flight plan from PP to VHP BVT KLAF </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 4: Amend flight plan: go direct KIND </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 5: Change the nearest airport runway surface to hard only and the min length to 2000 feet. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 6: Enter the nearest flight watch frequency into Com 1 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 7: Enter the frequency for SHB VOR into Nav 1 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 8: Change the alert voice to MALE </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 9: Enter the nearest FSS frequency into Com 1 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TASK 10: Enter the first approach frequency listed for Indianapolis into Com 2 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post test survey </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Participants (Pilot Study): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Total 6 sought </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group 1: 3 pilots ages 18-25, 1 “expert”, 2 test participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group 2: 3 pilots age 40+, 1 “expert”, 2 test participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control Group for G1 and G2 = Participants recency of experience with G1000 30 days + </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Equipment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IBM PC running dual screen G1000 Cessna Nav III PC training software, video: HD webcam </li></ul></ul>Results Discussion/References <ul><li>Time difference due to age? Plausible - Observed in results </li></ul><ul><li>Time difference due to recency? Plausible – Observed in results </li></ul><ul><li>The Hawthorne effect was observed. </li></ul><ul><li>Observed possible “technology overreliance” behavior. </li></ul><ul><li>Even the experts did not know all 10 tasks, had to ask for “do overs” for baseline times. </li></ul><ul><li>Control group participants (P1G1 and P1G2) did not complete most tasks. The older participants tended to fixate on the tasks and not give up as easily as younger participants. </li></ul><ul><li>Task completion rate of non-experts was significantly lower. Causes may be due to quality of initial training, disuse of missed tasks, and recency of experience. </li></ul><ul><li>No differences in answers between pre and post-test surveys except for older control group participant who performed worse than they expected. </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul><ul><li>Groff, Leon. (2010). Safety Study Report: Introduction of Glass Cockpit Avionics into Light Aircraft Quantitative Analysis Results. NTSB. NTSB. </li></ul><ul><li>Harada, E., Mori, K., & Taniue, N. (2010). Cognitive aging and the usability of IT-based equipment: Learning is the key. Japanese Psychological Research, 52 (3), 227-243. </li></ul><ul><li>Hardy, D., Satz, P., D'Elia, L., & Uchiyama, C. (2007). Age-Related Group and Individual Differences in Aircraft Pilot Cognition. The International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 17 (1), 77-90. </li></ul><ul><li>Wiegmann, A., Douglas. Shappell, A., Scott. “ A Human Error Approach to Aviation Accident Analysis”. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003. Print. </li></ul>Significance – Age vs. IT Use and Memory Figure 3: Table of Test Results 2 nd Information Technology (IT) Use Experiment.. Older test subjects had difficulty with PC’s with no structure showing where you have navigated to within the software. This could indicate that older pilots may get lost trying to navigate the complex menu structure of TAA. Source: Harada, E. Et AL. (2010). P. 240. Figure 4: Table of Test Results of Cognitive Tests of Pilots, number of outliers vs. age. This study confirmed that the average age where cognitive memory difficulties started showing up was about age 40 shown by the mean (M). Source: Hardy, D. Et AL. (2007). P. 86. Figure 1: Aircraft Accident Fatality Percentage Bar Graph. TAA seem to have a fatal accident rate almost twice that of conventional aircraft. WHY? Source: Groff, L. (2010). P. 14. Figure 2: TAA Accidents Table of Quantitative Results. A search of the NTSB accident database confirmed that the age of pilots lies in the group of age 35+. WHY? Source: Groff, L. (2010). P. 11. Problem – Leon Groff NTSB TAA Report