Publication Date

Summer 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Factors/Ergonomics


Sean Laraway


aviation, flight deck automation, surface operations, taxi clearance input methods

Subject Areas



Airport moving maps (AMMs) have been shown to decrease navigation errors, increase taxiing speed, and reduce workload when they depict airport layout, current aircraft position, and the cleared taxi route. However, current technologies are limited in their ability to depict the cleared taxi route due to the unavailability of datacomm or other means of electronically transmitting clearances from ATC to the flight deck. This study examined methods by which pilots can input ATC-issued taxi clearances to support taxi route depictions on the AMM. Sixteen general aviation (GA) pilots used a touchscreen monitor to input taxi clearances using two input layouts, softkeys and QWERTY, each with and without feedforward (graying out invalid inputs). QWERTY yielded more taxi route input errors than the softkeys layout. The presence of feedforward did not produce fewer taxi route input errors than in the non-feedforward condition. The QWERTY layout did reduce taxi clearance input times relative to the softkeys layout, but when feedforward was present this effect was observed only for the longer, 6-segment taxi clearances. It was observed that with the softkeys layout, feedforward reduced input times compared to non-feedforward but only for the 4-segment clearances. Feedforward did not support faster taxi clearance input times for the QWERTY layout. Based on the results and analyses of the present study, it is concluded that for taxi clearance inputs, (1) QWERTY remain the standard for alphanumeric inputs, and (2) feedforward be investigated further, with a focus on participant preference and performance of black-gray contrast of keys.