Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Chad S. Hale, PhD.


A four-phase, chronological, and build-up approach was implemented that commenced with basic hardware testing in a centrifuge and culminated in flights augmented by real-time biofeedback displays. A prototype Portable Electrocardiogram Unit (PECGU) was designed and proven to accurately measure heart rate (HR) and display percent heart rate reserve (%HRR). Results showed that %HRR was not a sole predictor of cognitive state. Cognitive responses indicated some correlation with %HRR, but were influenced by environment (centrifuge vs. flight). Subjective perceived exertion levels did not show statistically significant changes during test with biofeedback. A G-tracking task was evaluated during centrifuge and flight tests. One of four subjects showed statically significant improvement during the centrifuge while one of three subjects statistically improved during airborne G-tracking. This research marked the first time pilot HR was accurately measured and processed in flight, yielding a real-time biofeedback display. Overall, results could not be characterized by a single HR metric. A wide range of biosensors is needed to define operator physiological and cognitive (PC) state. There is hope for future development of an individualized, all-inclusive, and data-driven complex biofeedback algorithm, which ultimately presents a streamlined and intuitive PC state index with potentially tremendous enduring benefits to the warfighter.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number