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The effect of GPS and moving map displays on navigational awareness while flying under VFR  (2005)
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Sixteen pilots rated their navigational awareness to be significantly higher when navigating using a GPS and moving map display than when navigating using pilotage. The same sixteen pilots were then asked to fly, as accurately as possible, over a circuit consisting of six checkpoints in an unfamiliar area. Eight pilots navigated between the checkpoints using pilotage (i.e., a sectional chart). The remaining eight pilots were given the same sectional chart and a GPS receiver featuring a color moving map display. Navigational accuracy was recorded at each checkpoint for all sixteen pilots. The GPS/Moving Map group navigated more accurately than the Pilotage group, although both groups performed within standards. Upon completion of the circuit, pilots were asked to fly the same circuit again, only this time without any navigational resources. Navigational accuracy was again recorded for each checkpoint. The GPS/Moving Map group performed significantly worse than the Pilotage group when navigation resources were taken away. Two pilots using GPS and the moving map were unable to find their way to the starting point of the circuit. Other GPS pilots made large errors in navigating to individual checkpoints. When asked to reassess their own estimations of navigational awareness during the second circuit, the Pilotage group raised their estimates while the GPS group significantly lowered them. These findings call into question unqualified beliefs and claims that advanced avionics systems enhance pilots' navigational awareness, and point to a need to teach pilots about the potential human factors pitfalls associated with advanced avionics systems.
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GPS, moving map, navigations awareness, VFR
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International Journal of Applied Aviation Studies 5 (1), 153-165
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Alonso Vera
Last Updated: August 15, 2019