The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) conducted a study in 2010 to harmonize portrayal of aeronautical info (AI) on SwAF charts with NATO standards. A mismatch was found concerning vertical obstructions (VO). Norway regarded Sweden's existing symbology as a way to solve the problem of overcrowded air charts and the two countries started to cooperate. The result of this development was a new set of symbology for obstacles. The aim of this study was to test the readability of the new obstacle and power line symbols compared to the old symbols. We also wished to assess the readability in NVG illumination conditions, particularly regarding the new symbols compared to the old.
In a randomized controlled study design, 21 volunteer military pilots from the Norwegian and Swedish Air Force were asked to perform tracking and chart-reading tests. The chart-reading test scored both errors and readability using a predefined score index. Subjective scoring was also done at the end of the test day.
Overall response time improved by approximately 20% using the new symbology and error rate decreased by approximately 30-90% where statistically significant differences were found.
The tracking test turned out to be too difficult due to several factors in the experimental design. Even though some caution should be shown in drawing conclusions from this study, the general trends seem well supported with the number of aircrew subjects we were able to recruit.Wagstaff AS, Larsen T. Readability of new aviation chart symbology in day and NVG reading conditions. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2017; 88(11):978-984.