Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Michael E. Miller, PhD.


A proposed Attitude Stabilization Display (ASD) is evaluated against the traditional Attitude Indicator (AI). To understand the merit of this research, U.S. Air Force Class A spatial disorientation (SD) mishaps over the past 21 years were analyzed. This analysis applied Human Factors Analysis and Classification System codes to determine mishaps involving SD. This data was combined with data from the Reliability and Maintainability Information System to determine accident rates per flight hour. Seventy-two SD mishaps were analyzed, resulting in the loss of 101 lives and 65 aircraft since fiscal year (FY) 1993 for a total cost of $2.32 billion. Results indicate that future SD research should be focused on fighter/attack and helicopter platforms. With these results as the motivation, the graphical portions of the ASD were compared to the AI through a desktop flight simulation experiment in which participants used each display to recover from unusual attitudes. Participants completed recovery tasks approximately 2 seconds faster with the AI, on average. This time difference was greatest for participants having flight experience. Survey responses revealed that certain ASD design choices could be beneficial. Further investigation of the ASD is recommended as are updates to the Air Force safety center database.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number