Research Interests of R. John Hansman

Air Traffic Control: Analysis of System Performance, Human Factors Issues, Theoretical Process & Complexity Modes.

Airline Management and Airline Operations.

Automation and advanced information technologies are significantly changing the design and operation of flight vehicle systems. In many systems the human-vehicle interface is a limiting factor on the performance of the system. A systems approach which considers the human as a key functional element is required. Motivated by flight safety and efficiency considerations the work has focused on flight deck human factors, aviation weather hazards and instrumentation.

Evaluation of Electronic Approach and Taxi Charts: The presentation of high density chart information on electronic displays requires advanced formatting techniques due to screen resolution limitations. Advanced formats and object oriented data structures are evaluated using rapid prototyping techniques in the MIT Advanced Cockpit part task simulator.

Advanced Terrain Depiction Systems: Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) is the leading cause of air carrier fatal accidents. Advanced alerting techniques which employ terrain databases, GPS, forward look sensors and advanced displays are investigated.

Head Up Display of Enhanced/Synthetic Vision Systems: Human interface issues associated with millimeter wave radar, FLIR, and synthetic vision systems are evaluated for approach, landing, and taxi tasks. Images are simulated on the MIT Advanced Cockpit part task simulator.

GPS Applications: Various applications of GPS and DGPS are investigated including low visibility taxi guidance, noise minimal departure and arrival procedures, and aerial surveying.

Analytical Basis for Hazard Alert Thresholds: Establishment of hazard alert thresholds require tradeoffs between Probability of Detection (POD) and Probability of False Alarms (PFA). A systematic method to set alert thresholds and evaluate sensor performance based on probability theory is being developed.

Mode Awareness in Advanced Flight Management Systems: Improved methods for depicting active and armed modes in Flight Management Systems are being investigated analytically and in part task simulator studies.

Windshear and Wake Vortex Alerting Systems: Flight crew alerting issues associated with low altitude wind shear and wake vortex hazards are investigated analytically and in part task simulator studies.

Air/Ground Datalink Human Performance Issues: The impact of datalink on flight crew situational awareness is studied including the impact of automation and “party line” information. Methods to compensate for loss of “party line” information are studied.

Automated Flight Planning Algorithms: Automated flight planning algorithms capable of real time re-planning have been developed and flight tested in general aviation aircraft.

Aircraft Ice Accretion Modeling: Microphysical studies of aircraft ice accretion are conducted to support improved ice accretion modeling. The work concentrates on “glaze” icing which is the most difficult to model due to the strong influence of heat transfer and its coupling with roughness of the accreting ice surface.

Microphysical Failure Behavior of Deicing Fluids: Failure modes of Type I and II de-icing fluids are investigated at the microphysical level in laboratory and field studies.

Instrumentation Development: A variety of instrumentation activities are underway to support operational and experimental requirements. Instruments include: infrared and ultrasonic ice detection techniques, low gravity fluid measurement methods, and boundary layer transition measurement.