Western Michigan University (HSIRB) Pilots and flight checklist.

David Lee Fuhrmann Jr. AA, BA, MA.

Honored to work with Dr. Bryan Hilton, Dr. Ron Van Houten and Dr. Rantz on this research project a baseline safety research project pertaining to collecting data on pilots completing important functions before, during and after flight.


The airplane checklist is a job aid that is used to assist pilots in completing important functions before, during and after flight. This study will compare the accuracy of completing checklists when using an analog (paper) checklist vs. a simulated audible checklist using an alternating treatments design and whether both types of checklists performance is improved by receiving graphic feedback using a multiple baseline across participants design. The participants will be three college students recruited from junior and senior level aviation courses at Western Michigan University’s (WMU) College of Aviation (COA.) The experimental task will consist of flying six different, randomly selected flight patterns. The participants will be using the WMU Department of Psychology Personal Computer-Aviation Training Device (PC-ATD.) During the simulated flights participants will be informed to complete either analog checklists or activate a simulated audible checklist. Two secondary dependent variables will be (a) the percentage of total errors for each flight segments during each experimental phase per participant and (b) the percentage of items omitted. The experimental design will be a multi-element design with a reversal. During the baseline phase, after each simulated flight, the participant will receive post-flight technical feedback on how well they flew the pattern. During the first intervention phase the participants will fly one of six of the designated pattern and the participants will be asked to press an after-market button on the instrument panel of the PC-ATD when the pilot wants to initiate a checklist during a flight segment. The accuracy and completeness of the checklists will be graded by a trained observer. The second intervention will only be applied if participants fail to achieve 60% or higher correct of the total checklist items. Van Houten and Rantz (2009) concluded that the provision of graphic feedback on incorrect items could bring correct checklist items to above 90% consistently. This second intervention will be used to assure that the pilots leave the experiment with safer behaviors than when they arrived Рif the audible checklist does not function as the experimenter predicts. If needed the second intervention phase will consist of the participants being asked to fly one of the six designated patterns and to do the simulated audible checklist as they would in the previous phase of the experiment. As the participants are flying an observer will grade the accuracy and completeness of the checklist and graphic feedback will be created to show the participant immediately after their simulated flight. The participant will be notified of specific correct, incorrect, and omitted items along with the graphic feedback and praise will be given to any participant with an increase in checklist performance. The technical feedback of the flight pattern will also be given following the checklist graphic. The reversal will be included at the end of the intervention phase(s) and the participants will be asked to fly the PC-ATD simulator and to do the checklists as they would in a regular flight. In this return to baseline condition there will be no audible checklists and also no checklist feedback or praise. The post-flight technical feedback will still follow each flight. Participants will attend 5 to 10 two hours sessions, which will include an introductory flight. These sessions will occur over a two to three week period.

To download the dissertationtation, please click the link below.

Hilton Thesis