Pilot’s Intelligent Knee-pad

A private pilot in a single-engine aircraft has to fly, navigate, and communicate with air traffic control, ATC, all at the same time. These operations have to be performed without the benefit of a copilot or an autopilot. The objective of this project is to design a special-purpose computer that can be used to remove some of the load from the pilot. The computer will store the information supplied by ATC and perform aviation-related calculations (e.g., the current location). The computer will contain a data-base of information about other airports and the pilot will be able to find important information rapidly (e.g., the approach frequency of an airport or the length of its runways). The computer to be designed will be, essentially, a special-purpose notebook computer. For the purposes of the project, this computer will be simulated on a PC. An important part of the project will be the ergonomic and HCI considerations. Any successful system must be easy to use. A good system should anticipate the pilot’s needs (e.g., by making periodic suggestions).

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