Fly-by-wire control systems in advanced cockpits provide an opportunity to simplify the manual control demands on the pilot. However, this simplification may be at the expense of distancing the pilot from direct contact with important sources of information. Control loading systems provide the opportunity for enhancing the capacity of the stick as an information channel, providing the pilot with information about the critical aircraft state variables required for control. In this study parameters governing the movement of the pilot's control stick (i.e. the stiffness of a spring-centered stick) were dynamically adjusted to be proportional to moment-to-moment states of the simulated vehicle (i.e. roll velocity). The hypothesis was that the “feel” of the dynamically varying stick would provide control information leading to more precise control performance in a single-axis roll tracking task. RMS error results did not support this hypothesis. The result is discussed in the context of an ongoing research program to examine strategies for information integration in advanced cockpits.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/john_flach/128/