Methods of Instrument Training and Effects on Pilots’ Performance With Different Types of Flight Instrument Displays

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As computer display technology has evolved, so have the aircraft instrument displays pilots use for aircraft control and navigation. With the aid of two different flight training devices – one configured with steam gauges and the other configured with glass cockpit – this study measured aircraft control and navigation differences between two pilot groups. Pilot Group 1 had earned their instrument rating in aircraft equipped with steam gauges, and Pilot Group 2 had earned their instrument rating in aircraft equipped with glass cockpits. Using displays for which they were not trained, each pilot was tested on aircraft control and navigation precision. The test required that pilots complete basic instrument maneuvers and an instrument landing system approach. Using MANOVA, deviations from assigned values were recorded and statistically compared. Study findings indicated that steam gauge pilots transitioning to glass cockpits perform better than glass cockpit pilots transitioning to steam gauge displays.

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