Situation awareness (SA) is the ability and capacity to perceive information and act on it acceptably. Head Up Display (HUD) versus Head Down Display (HDD) manipulation induced variation in task difficulty. HUD and HDD cockpit displays or display designs promoted or impaired SA. The quantitative research presented in this paper examines basic neurocognitive factors in order to identify their specific contributions to the formation of SA, while studying display usability and the effects on SA. Visual attentiveness (Va), perceptiveness (Vp), and spatial working memory (Vswm) were assessed as predictors of SA under varying task difficulty. The study participants were 19 tactical airlift pilots, selected from the Ohio Air National Guard. Neurocognitive tests were administered to the participants prior to flight. In-flight SA was objectively and subjectively assessed for 24 flights. At the completion of this field experiment, the data were analyzed and the tests were statistically significant for the three predictor visual abilities Vp, Va, and Vswm as task difficulty was varied, F(3,11) = 8.125, p = .008. In addition, multiple regression analyses revealed that the visual abilities together predicted a majority of the variance in SA, R2 = 0.753, p = .008. As validated and verified by ECG and EEG data, the HUD yielded a full ability and capacity to anticipate and accommodate trends were as the HDD yielded a saturated ability to anticipate and accommodate trends. Post-hoc tests revealed a Cohen’s f2 = 3.05 yielding statistical power to be 0.98. This work results in a significant contribution to the field by providing an improved understanding of SA and path to safer travel for society worldwide. PA 88ABW-2015-1282.