Severity-Mapped Vibrotactile Cues to Support Interruption Management with Weather Messaging in the General Aviation Cockpit Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the increasing availability of technologies that provide access to aviation weather information in the cockpit, weather remains a prominent contributor to general aviation (GA) accidents. Pilots fail to detect the presence of new weather information, misinterpret it, or otherwise fail to act appropriately on it. When cognitive demands imposed by concurrent flight tasks are high, the risks increase for each of these failure modes. Previous research shows how introducing vibrotactile cues can help ease or redistribute some of these demands, but there is untapped potential in exploring how vibratory cues can facilitate “interruption management”, i.e., fitting the processing of available weather information into flight task workflow. In the current study, GA pilots flew a mountainous terrain scenario in a flight training device while receiving, processing, and acting on various weather information messages that were displayed visually, in graphical and text formats, on an experimental weather display. Half of the participants additionally received vibrotactile cues via a connected smartwatch with patterns that conveyed the “severity” of the message, allowing pilots to make informed decisions about when to fully attend to and process the message. Results indicate that weather messages were acknowledged more often and faster when accompanied by the vibrotactile cues, but the time after acknowledgment to fully process the messages was not significantly affected by vibrotactile cuing, nor was overall situation awareness. These findings illustrate that severity-encoded vibrotactile cues can support pilot awareness of updated weather as well as task management in processing weather messages while managing concurrent flight demands.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rodriguez-Paras, C., McKenzie, J. T., Choterungruengkorn, P., & Ferris, T. K.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • March 2021