Primary Flight Display

This proof of concept interface for a commercial aircraft primary flight display eliminates cognitive delays in high risk situations and provides pilots with direct visual affordances about the flight path. 


In the aftermath of high risk situations that have resulted in disastrous outcomes, a common debate arises: Human error or design flaw? The case study of Flight Air France 447 demonstrates that, while fly-by-wire technology is advantageous for automatic flight, the lack of feedback is dangerous when emergency manual control is required. Instead of feedback that requires cognitive functions, which take up critical time, the proposed concept implements perceptual cues that engage the pilots to take immediate action.


 Our work was motivated by insights from cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. We use the edges of the interface itself as visual affordances, to indicate contextual changes. And we simulate the righting reflex of birds, to prompt pilots to correctly engage downward velocity and reenter the target flight path.

*Funded by the Mary Gates Research Endowment, 2014







Dr. A. Roesler



During the process of re-designing the Primary Flight Display we investigated many forms both digital and physical.