Human Factors Assessment of the UH-60M Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) Crew Station During the Limited User Evaluation (LEUE)

Report No. ARL-MR-0634
Authors: Thomas J. Havir, David B. Durbin, and Lorraine J. Frederick
Date/Pages: December 2005; 96 pages
Abstract: The UH-60M Product Office requested the U.S. Army Research Laboratory?s (ARL?s) Human Research and Engineering Directorate to participate in the Limited Early User Evaluation (LEUE) of the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) cockpit. ARL conducted a human factors evaluation (HFE) during the LEUE, which assessed workload, situation awareness, simulator sickness, pilot-vehicle interface (PVI), and eye tracker data. The data were used to identify characteristics of the CAAS cockpit that enhance or degrade pilot performance. Characteristics that degrade pilot performance should be considered for design changes at the earliest opportunity. Three utility helicopter (UH)-60 crews (six pilots) each conducted three mission scenarios for a total of nine flights. The three missions consisted of flights in visual meteorological conditions (VMC), instrumented meteorological conditions (IMC), and tactical conditions. The pilots completed the simulator sickness questionnaire before and after each flight. They completed the Bedford Workload Rating Scale, Situation Awareness (SA) Rating Technique, and the PVI Questionnaire after each mission. In addition to pilot data, a tactical steering committee (TSC) was used to perform an independent assessment of workload, situation awareness, and mission success. The TSC completed a survey after each mission. The data were analyzed with the use of the Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test to compare pilot ratings between seat position and results between instrument flight rule (IFR) and visual flight rule (VFR) flights. The mean workload rating for all tasks was 3.10, indicating that the pilots typically had enough workload capacity for all desirable additional tasks. The mean situation awareness rating provided by the pilots was 25.84. This SA rating indicates that the pilots felt they had moderate levels of situation awareness during the missions. The pilots also provided a lot of data and comments regarding the PVI and offered recommendations for design improvements. Finally, the eye tracker results showed that the flying pilot was focused out the window 60.86% of the time, while the non-flying pilot spent only 26.30% focused out the window. The results of the assessment concluded that the CAAS cockpit resulted in acceptable workload and situation awareness levels; however, several issues were identified that, if corrected, could offer significant reductions in workload and improve pilot performance. These issues should be considered for future modifications of the CAAS design, and future HFEs should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of any design changes.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: December 1, 2005