Flight Safety & Human Performance Research


Research Project: A study comparing the accuracy of performing digital and paper checklists using a feedback intervention package during normal workload conditions in simulated flight (Rantz).

The study examined both technical sequential flight skills & observable pilot behavior using the Cirrus SR20 FTD during normal instrument workload environments. For remote observation and inter-rater reliability checks, we positioned 2 digital video cameras within the cockpit to record behaviors of all participants. Behaviors of interest are those prompted by checklist use. We evaluated, a) the accuracy of both paper and digital checklists, b) the effect of graphic feedback to improve both traditional paper checklist and digital checklist performance and c) determined if there is any difference between performances using paper or digital checklists in a normal workload environment.

Rantz, W., Van Houten, R. (2011). A Feedback Intervention to Increase Digital and Paper Checklist Performance in Technically Advanced Aircraft Simulation. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 44(1). 144-150.

Checklist Performance Improvement Using Graphic Feedback in a Cirrus SR20 Presentation


The view from the rear of the Frasca 241-Cirrus SR20 FTD.

Instructor and data collection station is to the right. The FTD has wrap around visual projection.


The flight deck of the Frasca 241-Cirrus SR20 FTD

The primary flight display (PFD) on the left and the multi-functional display (MFD) showing the digital checklist in the center of the panel.


The primary flight display (PFD)


The multi-functional display (MFD)

Illustrates the digital checklist item changes color as the pilot pushes the DONE button to confirm it is completed.


Instructional panel of the Cirrus SR20 FTD


Observation station for data collection and recording

Located in an area adjacent to the Frasca 241-Cirrus SR20 FTD. At this station experimenters can observe and record both sights and sounds occurring on the flight deck. Graphic feedback was also produced at this location.

Research Contributors

No animals were harmed during these experiments!


Ron Van Houten, Ph.D. Psychology

Brad Huitema, Ph.D. Psychology

Alan Poling, Ph.D. Psychology

Vladimir Rishukin, Ph.D. Aeronautical Engineering

Alyce Dickinson Ph.D. Psychology

Bryan Hilton, B.S. Aviation Student Graduate, Research Assistant, Psychology Graduate Student

Jared Neterer, B.S. Aviation Student Graduate-Lee Honors College