Effects of on board tablet use during helicopter operations

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Roos, C.
Reus, A. de
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Research performed at the NLR has shown that the use of a tablet as an information sharing device in helicopter operations can produce beneficial effects in building and maintaining situational awareness (SA), can support coordination and communication and can reduce workload. The results however also show that the integration of a feature rich tablet device changes the dynamic of the workplace of the flight crew, and as such touches on flight- and mission safety aspects. The results of the research program relating to the effects on flight- and mission safety are disseminated in this paper to support safe and effective integration of tablet based information exchange concepts in helicopter operations worldwide. Several (potential) effects are reported, such as cognitive and information overload and more generally the effects of digital versus radio communication. Mitigating solutions are proposed to address these effects, which include specific interface design, the creation of procedures and the implementation of flight crew training.