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General Guidance Document - Overview

Human Factors Considerations in the Design and Evaluation of Flight Deck Displays and Controls

There are numerous human factors requirements and guidelines related to flight deck displays and controls that are spread across a variety of regulatory and guidance documents, including the following:

  • The Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs),
  • Technical Standard Orders (TSOs),
  • Advisory Circulars (ACs), and
  • Industry standards (e.g., RTCA Minimum Operational Performance Standards [MOPS] and SAE International Aerospace Recommended Practices [ARPs]).

Many of these documents apply to specific avionics systems, for example, TSO-C165a addresses electronic map displays; however, much of the human factors material in these individual documents is generic and could be applicable to a variety of avionics systems. Many of these documents are several hundred pages, but the human factors portions comprise only a few pages of each document; consequently, the relevant human factors guidance may be spread throughout any one document or across several documents.

The document Human Factors Considerations in the Design and Evaluation of Flight Deck Displays and Controls is intended to compile human factors material into a single-source reference document. The purpose of this document is to identify and prioritize guidance on human factors issues to consider in the design and evaluation of flight deck displays and controls for all types of aircraft (Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations [14 CFR] parts 23, 25, 27, and 29), in the interest of improving aviation safety. The document may be used by FAA aircraft certification test pilots, engineers, human factors specialists, aircraft certification specialists, and industry professionals.

This document is not intended to replace FAA regulatory and guidance material specific to the type of aircraft. Version 2 was published in December 2016 and supersedes the Version 1 edition.

This document is available for download in a PDF format on the National Transportation Library website. 

For hard copies of this document, please contact Esther Devanney ( or Suzanne Thomas (, or please call 405-954-8579.

Document Contents

Human factors issues are grouped into 10 “topic areas,” which directly correspond to the 10 chapters. Each chapter provides human factors regulatory and guidance material, as well as recommendations and best practices, from industry, academia, and government research organizations, related to each topic area.

There are also six appendices containing a variety of sample checklists, testing scenarios and procedures, key reference lists, and “gold star” human factors research reports that have proven to be useful to both the FAA and industry representatives who evaluate and approve flight deck displays and controls.