A Countermeasure for Loss of Situation Awareness: Transitioning from the Laboratory to the Aircraft

Ben Lawson, Angus Rupert, J. Christopher Brill, Braden McGrath, Linda-Brooke I. Thompson, Amanda M. Kelley

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


Loss of situation awareness (SA) is a major contributor to aircraft mishaps. This paper describes a technological (display) countermeasure for loss of situation awareness in flight and considers its key remaining transition challenges. The display countermeasure is a tactile situation awareness system (TSAS) that provides cues concerning aircraft motion. For example, if a helicopter drifts upwards, forwards, or downwards away from its desired hover, the pilot would feel a vibrotactile pulse on top of his/her shoulders, the front of his/her torso, or beneath his/her buttocks, respectively. The key challenge remaining for the TSAS is to transition from the research laboratory science and technology (S&T) setting to routine use aboard manned aircraft, which requires extensive flight testing. We present research evidence supporting the utility of the cues provided by TSAS, the safety benefits of TSAS, and the robustness of TSAS under demanding conditions relevant to flight. However, the research setting differs greatly from the operational setting it serves. Therefore, we conclude by sharing seven practical technology transition lessons we have learned from our efforts to transition TSAS from S&T to the very different world of flight operations. We discuss how the differing procedures, standards, timelines, priorities, incentives, and expectations of scientific versus flight testing raise significant challenges to the efficient transition of new technological inventions to the aircraft. Our hope is that describing our ongoing efforts with TSAS will aid similar display technology transition efforts and provide inventors information that could foster government innovation and implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2016 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2016
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781467376761
ISBN (Print)9781467376761
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2016
Event2016 IEEE Aerospace Conference - Yellow Stone Conference Center, Montana, United States
Duration: 5 Mar 201612 Mar 2016

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


Conference2016 IEEE Aerospace Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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