Dr. Walter Johnson

Principal Human-Systems Designer

Walter Johnson obtained his PhD in Experimental Psychology in 1986 from the Ohio State University, after which he joined NASA as a research psychologist and where he remained until retiring in 2016.  Prior to retiring Walt was a team leader in the Human Systems Integration Division at the NASA Ames Research Center.  Here he worked daily on cutting edge technologies to advance the state of the art in aviation and air traffic management. Most recently this work was associated with the development of ground stations to support both manned and unmanned aircraft. Walter has received numerous awards for technologies he has helped develop during his time at NASA, including recent ones for the Cockpit Situation DisplayPredicted Weather Display and Decision Support Interface for Flight Deck, and StormGen Weather Editor. In March 2016 Dr. Johnson, along with his co-inventors, was awarded a patent titled System and Method for Providing a Real Time Audible Message to a Pilot. At HATS Walt now leads the development and implementation of human automation/autonomy teaming (HAT) concepts, which tailor automation to the individual human, with an emphasis on how an automated team member may closely emulate human-style interaction during collaborative decision-making. In this role he combines his expertise in fundamental and applied human systems integration issues with a focus on fostering creative and innovative thinking among HATS team members, by ensuring them the opportunity to try out new ideas. Below is a representative sample of the more than 150 publications he has authored.


  1. Johnson, Walter W., Vernol Battiste, and Sheila Holland Bochow. A Cockpit Display Designed to Enable Limited Flight Deck Separation Responsibility. No. 1999-01-5567. SAE Technical Paper, 1999.
  2. Johnson, W. W., Bilimoria, K. D., Thomas, L. C., Lee, H. Q., Liao, M. J., & Battiste, V. (2006). Comparison of Pilots and Automation Generated Lateral Conflict Resolutions. Air Traffic Control Quarterly, 14(3).
  3. Ligda, S. V., Johnson, N., Lachter, J., & Johnson, W. W. (2009). Pilot Confidence with ATC Automation Using Cockpit Situation Display Tools in a Distributed Traffic Management Environment. In Human Interface and the Management of Information. Information and Interaction (pp. 816-825). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
  4. Johnson, W., Ho, N., Battiste, V., Vu, K. P. L., Lachter, J., Ligda, S., … & Martin, P. (2010, October). Management of continuous descent approach during interval management operation. In Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), 2010 IEEE/AIAA 29th (pp. 4-D). IEEE.
  5. Wu, S. C., Duong, C. G., Koteskey, R. W., & Johnson, W. W. (2011, June). Designing a flight deck predictive weather forecast interface supporting trajectory-based operations. In Ninth USA/Europe Air Traffic Management Research and Development Seminars (ATM2011), Berlin, Germany.
  6. Johnson, W. W., Lachter, J., Battiste, V., Lim, V., Brandt, S. L., Koteskey, R. W., … & Wu, S. C. (2011, October). An examination of selected datacom options for the near-term implementation of trajectory based operations. In Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), 2011 IEEE/AIAA 30th (pp. 4D2-1). IEEE.
  7. Wu, S. C., Luna, R., & Johnson, W. W. (2013, October). Flight deck weather avoidance decision support: Implementation and evaluation. In Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), 2013 IEEE/AIAA 32nd (pp. 5A2-1). IEEE.