Research Studies

Current Research Studies

Our researchers are often seeking participants for aeronautical research studies. Be a part of the future of aviation by participating in cutting-edge research. Please review the participant criteria and reach out to the appropriate lab/researcher if interested!

If you are a WISA Member recruiting participants for an aeronautical research study, please email us with your recruitment scripts to be added to this page. 

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Research Participant Recruitment

The WatVis research group is currently recruiting participants for an interview study to help us understand pilot behavior in-flight communication. As a participant, you will be invited to engage in an interview and discuss the instructions and information during ATC communications. You have the option to participate either online or in-person at the University of Waterloo’s DC building (room DC3544).

We are seeking participants who are willing to share their insights and contribute to a body of knowledge that has the potential solution to enhance pilot-ATC communications. We kindly request your participation if you fit into any of the following categories:

  • Certified pilots or individuals currently undergoing pilot training with experience in pilot-ATC communications
  • Individuals with experience in pilot-ATC communications, either in a professional or educational setting.

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through the University of Waterloo Research Ethics Board (REB #45654). The study is expected to take approximately 90 minutes of your time. As a token of appreciation, each participant will receive 20 CAD per hour via E-transfer or an Amazon gift card.

Why Participate?
In the complex and high-stakes realm of air traffic control (ATC), clear and effective communication is paramount for flight safety. Misunderstandings in ATC communications are a significant factor in aviation incidents and accidents. By integrating visual cues alongside auditory messaging to support existing voice communication channels, we aim to streamline the communication process and reduce the cognitive load on pilots. By participating in this study, you will contribute to research that could redefine the future of general aviation and pilot-ATC communications. Your insights will be invaluable in understanding and enhancing the communication between pilots and controllers.

How to Participate?
If you are interested in participating, kindly complete this Google Form. A member will reach out to you with further details. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Theresa Lyu at y32lyu@uwaterloo.ca.

Thank you for your time and your interest!

Basic Flight Manoeuvres and Pilot Assessment

WISA researchers are conducting a study to collect pilot data and build a database to support the development of computational models of pilot performance.

Participants will fly a Cessna 172 aircraft (or similar model) with a flight instructor and perform a list of basic flight tasks including engine start, taxing, normal takeoff, steep turn, stall, circuit, and normal approach and landing. During the flight, researchers will collect data such as flight data recording, video recording, heart rate, skin conductivity, eye movement, and flight instructor assessment.

The study will take about one hour. The researchers will pay for the aircraft rental and instructor fee, and will also remunerate participants for their time with $15 CAD cash. Participation is voluntary and participants can withdraw from the study session without any consequences.

To be eligible for participation, you must be a licensed pilot (e.g., Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License) or a student pilot who has completed the training on the tested flight manoeuvres, engine start, taxiing, normal takeoff, steep turn, stall, circuit, and normal approach and landing. Any decisions to participate or not participate will not affect your status at your organization, and participation is completely voluntary.

If you are interested in participating, or if you have any questions, please contact the research team:

Robin Xu rongbing.xu@uwaterloo.ca (Research Associate)

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through University of Waterloo research Ethics Board.

Moving Towards Competency-Based Training in Aviation

We are looking for people to take part in a study that involves recording eye movements during simulated flying via an ALSIM AL250 Flight Simulator. The study is being conducted to gain insight into the development of skill proficiency and competency in new pilots as they learn how to control and fly a plane. Participants will be asked to perform various flight tasks using a flight simulator in different situations while wearing eye tracking glasses. The outcomes of this research will help develop evidence based, standardized and objective measures to monitor and assess progress in skill development. This study will be completed in three sessions: (1) cognitive functions testing (max. 90 min); (2) first experimental session in the simulator (max. 120 min.); (3) second experimental session (max. 120 min.). The whole experiment commitment will take approximately one month.

To participate you must: (1) have your instructor rating (class 4); (2) have a current class one medical certificate for pilots; (3) be fluent in English for the purpose of reading and interpreting instructions.

This research will be conducted in Flight Simulator Lab (EV1 242). This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Board (#45559).

Participants will receive $35/hr remuneration.

Read the information letter.

If you are interested in participating, please contact ca6marti@uwaterloo.ca.

Measuring Pilot Biometrics and Performance in Simulated Flight

We are looking for people to participate in a research study that involves using a biometric sensor (measuring heart rate, eye tracking etc.) during simulated flying via an ALSIM AL250 Flight Simulator. This study will examine how degradation of vision with defocusing/scattering lenses will influence eye movement patterns, perceived task difficulty, heart rate measures, and flight performance.

This study will be completed in the Flight Simulator Lab at the University of Waterloo in a single session lasting approximately 90 minutes.

We are looking for people who: (1) have normal or corrected to normal vision (i.e., with contact lenses ONLY), (2) hold a current class one medical certificate, (3) are fluent in the English language for the purpose of reading and interpreting instructions and (4) have a minimum of a private pilot license.

This research will be conducted at the University of Waterloo. If you are interested in participating, please contact flightsim.lab@uwaterloo.ca with Flightsim Biometrics in the subject line.

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Board.

Investigating the Potential Application of Video Recordings and Eye-Tracking Data for Ab Initio Flight Training Assessment

We are looking for student pilots and certified flight instructors to participate in a research study.

The study will investigate the use of video recordings, eye-tracking data and flight data outputs for the assessment of student pilots during ab initio flight training.

A student pilot will complete a simulated training flight, from engine start to engine shutdown, in the ALSIM AL250 flight training device with a certified flight instructor evaluating the student pilot’s performance using an assessment tool developed by the research team. The session will last approximately sixty (60) minutes.

Additionally, certified flight instructors will take part in an online session where they will evaluate the performance of student pilots from recordings of simulated training flights. This session will also last approximately sixty (60) minutes.

To participate as a student pilot, you must be a University of Waterloo Aviation student, have completed some flight training and have not been awarded your Private Pilot Licence – Aeroplane (PPL-A).

To participate as a certified flight instructor, your pilot license must be endorsed with a flight instructor rating.

This research will be conducted in the Flight Simulator Lab at the University of Waterloo. This study has received ethics clearance though the University of Waterloo Research Ethics Board.

To learn more about the study, please read the information letter for student pilots or certified flight instructors.

If you are interested in participating, please complete the eligibility questionnaire in the information letters above or contact Brad Moncion at bmtmoncion@uwaterloo.ca with Video Recording Study in the subject line.

Remote VR Pilot Training

The WatVis research group is currently recruiting participants for a study. Our research aims to explore the potential of Extended Reality (XR) technology to significantly enhance flight performance and the overall quality of pilot training.

We kindly invite you to participate if you meet the following criteria: 

  1. Age requirement for participation: 18 – 64 years old.
  2. You need to be a flight instructorwho have achieved at least a Flight Instructor Rating (Class 4).

Why Participate?

By participating in this study, you will contribute to research that could redefine the future of general aviation and pilot training. Your insights will be invaluable in understanding the communication between the student pilot and the instructor during flight training and debriefing sessions.

What Does Participation Involve?

During the study, you will be interviewed and share your flight experience. You have the option to participate either online or in person at the University of Waterloo’s Davis Centre (DC) building (room DC3544). The research study is expected to require 60-90 minutes, and as a token of appreciation for your participation, each participant will receive $20-30 CAD through either an e-transfer or an Amazon gift card based on the time.

How to Participate?

If you are interested in participating, please feel free to sign up HERE. A member will reach out to you with further details. 

This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through the University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (ORE# 45654). If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Xizi (Lucy) Wang at l84wang@uwaterloo.ca

Aviation English

We are looking for volunteers to take part in a study of aviation English. The study requires participants to listen to: a) various pilot and air traffic controller conversations, and b) random sentences. Participants will answer multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions (total of 48 questions) with their personal computers.

Expectations

  • Participants will receive links that allow them to access to two listening tests (Rounds 1 and 2; 24 questions in each).
  • The listening tests will take a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes. No time limit.
  • Participants will complete a preliminary (demographic) survey before starting.
  • No identifiable information about participants will be published.
  • In appreciation for your time, you will receive up to $20.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Participants can be either:
    • Undergraduate students
      • Enrolled in the aviation program.
      • May have a minimum exposure to piloting an aircraft or no experience.
      • May have licenses (PPL, CPL, ATPL).
      • Enjoy listening to pilot-air traffic controller conversations on YouTube.
    • Graduate students
      • Conducting research in aviation-related studies.
      • May have a minimum exposure to piloting an aircraft or no experience.
      • May have licenses (PPL, CPL, ATPL).
      • Enjoy listening to pilot-air traffic controller conversations on YouTube.
  • Participants should have no hearing issues.
  • Participants must be at least eighteen years old.

The study is being carried out by student investigator Hyun Su Seong, who is pursuing his PhD in Systems Design Engineering. The faculty supervisors for this experiment are Dr. Shi Cao (SYDE) and Dr. Suzanne Kearns (ENV). This study has been reviewed by and received ethics clearance from the University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee (Ethics #45351). Everything related to the experiment will be provided by the research team administering the experiment.

If you are interested in participating or have questions, please contact Hyun Su Seong at hs2seong@uwaterloo.ca using your University of Waterloo email address.