Design and Evaluation of a Constraint-Based Head-Up Display for Helicopter Obstacle Avoidance During Forward Flight

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This paper aims to reveal the effect of different display design principles in the helicopter domain. Two different obstacle avoidance support displays are evaluated during low-altitude, forward helicopter flight: a baseline Head-Up Display (HUD) is complemented either by a conventional advisory display, or a constraint-based display inspired by Ecological Interface Design. The latter has only been sparsely applied in the helicopter domain. It is hypothesized that the advisory display reduces workload, increases situation awareness, and improves performance measures in nominal obstacle avoidance situations, while the constraint-based display increases the resilience of the pilot-vehicle system towards unexpected, off-nominal situations. Twelve helicopter pilots with varying flight experience participated in an experiment in the SIMONA Research Simulator at Delft University of Technology. Contrary to expectations, the experiment revealed no significant effects of the displays on any of the dependent measures. However, there was a trend of decreasing pilot workload and increasing situation awareness when employing any of the support displays, compared to the baseline HUD. Pilots preferred the advisory display in nominal and the constraint-based display in off-nominal situations, reproducing similar findings from research in the fixed-wing domain. The relatively short time-frame and monotony of the control-task, an already cue-rich baseline HUD condition, and similarity between the displays possibly prohibited revealing larger differences between conditions. Future research will analyze the obstacle avoidance trajectories of this experiment, possibly revealing changes in control strategy caused by the displays, even when the lumped performance measures are similar. A follow-up experiment will focus on a longer task time-frame, more variable situations, and a truly ecological display to investigate the effect of applying Ecological Interface Design and different automation systems in the helicopter domain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
Subtitle of host publication6-10 January 2020, Orlando, FL
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-595-1
ISBN (Print)9781624105951
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum - Orlando, United States
Duration: 6 Jan 202010 Jan 2020

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
Volume1 PartF


ConferenceAIAA Scitech 2020 Forum
Country/TerritoryUnited States

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Invited paper


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