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Newtam Briefing Pack

Student Work

This proposed system attempts to correct a lack of efficiency and clarity during a commercial pilot’s “briefing packet” check pre-flight. While it is absolutely essential that a pilot be able to comprehend the general conditions of the flight they are about to embark on, the way in which they are currently relayed the information is inefficient and at times, confusing. While they are legally allotted 15 minutes to complete this paperwork, most pilots come in early to the crew room as it takes them about twice that time to sufficiently brief themselves. The proposed system of communication to the pilots would capitalize on clear visual representations of weather charts and an automated system to draw attention to possible dangers. The weather check a pilot performs is one of the most meticulous (and important) parts of the briefing packet. I narrowed my focus to these charts/forms/figures that help the pilot get an accurate impression of the flight conditions.

Final Video


Step 1: Initial Research

In my initial research presentation to the class, I chose an existing form  of automation, autopilot, to familiarize myself with. At this point I was focusing on how the pilot and copilot interact with the technology within the cockpit throughout the flight as well as how autopilot has changed the flight industry since its creation in 1913. 

Continuing my focus on the interaction with autopilot throughout the course of the flight, I then exchanged emails with a former commercial pilot discussing his emotional connection to flying with or without autopilot and the technical aspects of departure and arrival. This research I presented in the form of a dramatic reading of some of these thoughts from the pilot in an audio story. This audio story not only explains the tasks performed by the pilots, but also their emotional journey. Though the pilot's input was extremely helpful, at this point I was deep diving into the research about this technology, trying to wrap my mind around how everything fits into each other and allows for seamless air travel. 

Pilot's Journey Audio Story
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Step 2: Understanding the Problem

Though I initially tracked the journey of the pilot while imputing the necessary data into the FMC, I ultimately decided to create a user journey focusing on the steps a pilot takes pre-flight, before they even enter the aircraft. I came across a video from a pilot blogger explaining how a pilot moves through a printed PDF with important weather and airport information, called a "briefing packet." It was already apparent from the video that a black and white print of these charts and figures was not the most effective or efficient way to rely this important information to the pilot before their flight. After categorizing each step into larger tasks, it is even more apparent when viewing the user journey which tasks are the most complicated and time consuming for the pilot. This ultimately drove me to focus on designing a new way for pilots to receive this information. 

Step 3: Designing the System

The color scheme of the Newtam system was inspired by the existing colors in the flight industry. NOTAM is a term that pilots would be familiar with. A NOTAM, (notice to air men), is a part of the pre-flight checklist. Seeing as this system would be a new way to receive information, a new way to receive a NOTAM, Newtam became the name of the app and the system. As seen in the system diagram, Newtam would be used by a pilot in three stages: at home, in the crew room, and in the cockpit. The home stage is to brief the pilot on where they will be flying and when they should arrive at the airport. The in crew room stage was the deep dive of the system, where the pilot will be presented with the significant weather charts, wind charts, and airport NOTAMs. During this stage, the pilot can add any items they believe might disrupt the flight to a "Caution List," which will alert the pilot to that item at the appropriate time during the flight in the cockpit stage of the system.

All of these features and stages work in tandem with each other to provide the pilot with an easier way to prepare for their upcoming flight, and are all united under one brand with a clear, straight-forward tone and look. 

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