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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
Spatial Disorientation Experiment at the Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility (CVSRF)
November 19, 2015

A recent study found that many commercial jet transport accidents were caused by loss of control associated with pilot inability to recover from upsets and unusual attitudes. Improved pilot training in these abnormal flight conditions, including the ability of training simulators to induce pilot spatial disorientation, is needed to reduce loss-of-control accidents. Systems Technology Incorporated (STI) is developing the Spatial Disorientation Transfer of Training Assessment Library (SD-TOTAL) software application that will provide tools to quantify the ability of flight simulators to create spatial disorientation in FAA Level-D Certified simulators. This work is in support of a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The requirement for a Level-D Certified simulator, with the ability to collect the required data, necessitates the use of the B747-400 simulator in NASA Ames' CVSRF.

The Spatial Disorientation simulation was conducted at the CVSRF from November 16-20, 2015. The experiment will help to define and develop potential scenarios to replicate spatial disorientation with emphasis on pitch and roll effects. The motion and visual system parameters will be tuned for each scenario until the desired effect is achieved. As part of the experiment, an electroencephalograph (EEG) will be integrated with the simulator. The EEG uses a wireless headset, which measures brain waves and heart rate to determine the pilot’s cognitive workload level. STI will use the data collected to evaluate current training simulators' capacity to re-produce pilot spatial disorientation to improve future training. (POC: Duc Tran)



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