Research project seeks instrument pilots

July 1, 2013

A study to determine whether the design of some runways can be changed to accommodate satellite-based instrument approaches with vertical guidance is recruiting instrument pilots to help gather data.

MITRE Corp.’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD) is conducting the research using a simulator at the Daytona Beach, Fla., campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. CAASD needs 60 current instrument pilots with some glass cockpit experience and other qualifications.

The pilots, who will be paid up to $250 for participating, will fly about four hours of instrument approaches in ERAU’s Frasca Cessna 172 flight training device. Data gathered will help test “whether runway design, runway width and length, pavement markings, visual guidance systems, and edge lighting standards can be changed to accommodate satellite-based instrument approach procedures such as localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches to runways that currently do not support low-visibility approach procedures,” said Mitchell Serber, project team manager, in an email.

The project, conducted under an FAA contract, seeks to recruit a representative sample of pilots who could legally fly a Cessna 172 under instrument meteorological conditions in the National Airspace System. Participants must possess a current U.S. pilot certificate with an instrument-airplane rating, be current for IFR flight under CFR 14 Part 61, and hold a current FAA medical certificate without night flight restriction or color signal restriction. Pilots must have a minimum of four hours experience using glass cockpit displays and speed tapes.

CAASD has further subdivided the participant population into three age groups (under 33; between 33 and 60; and 60 or older) with a specific number of members from each group holding a private, commercial, or airline transport pilot certificate. Three women pilots—one from each pilot-certification level—are to be recruited, Serber said.

Pilots will be paid $150 each for participation, with an additional $100 as a completion bonus.  Transportation and housing expenses will remain the responsibility of project participants.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.