Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Every year there are numerous reports of mid-air collisions across the United States, most of which occur in day time VFR conditions. Flight following, a free service to VFR aircraft, is a tool to help pilots with collision avoidance. This study used an interview process to investigate factors that influence pilot usage of flight following. The study was able to use a quantitative method to identify certain factors that influence pilot usage of flight following including: type of airport a pilot is based at or mainly flies out of, understanding of the air traffic control system, having a Seaplane Rating, Instrument and/or Commercial Rating, or Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, flying Weight-Shift Control or Multi-Engine aircraft, having ADS-B, TCAS, or a built in radio and purpose of flight.Using a qualitative method, this study also discovered categories or themes that emerged from pilot definitions of flight following and factors that influence pilot usage of flight following. The themes that emerged from pilot definitions of flight following included: a procedure that similar to instrument flight rules, a service that provides information for situational awareness, a service for specific types of flights, a service that provides navigational help and traffic advisories, an optional workload-permitting service, and an aid in maintaining safety. Several themes emerged from factors that influence pilot usage of flight following which included the: characteristics of the flight, safety of flight, personal choice/opinion of the service, the pilot’s situational awareness, requirement and/or recommendation to use the service, and the availability of other technologies. Since these factors were determined and a target group of pilots was established as a result, a system to influence pilot usage of flight following can now be created, which will hopefully lead to more pilots using flight following and, in turn, create a safer National Airspace System.
Bulger, Jody Barbara, "Factors That Influence Pilot Usage of Flight Following" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 372.