The US Air Force has developed a new simulator, the Gyro integrated physiological trainer (IPT) II, in a bid to resolve difficulties related with spatial disorientation.
Spatial disorientation occurs when the body’s internal gyros do not match up with aircraft instrument readings and what the pilot expects to see, leading to a dangerous situation inside the cockpit.
With the implementation of the new simulator into specialised undergraduate pilot training (SUPT), the SUPT students will benefit from spatial disorientation training before they enter the aircraft.
The new technology will be operated by Columbus Air Force Base (AFB) along with Sheppard AFB, Texas, US.
14th Medical Group Aerospace Physiology Flight commander major Michael Fleming said: "What this will do is let the students get realistic, hands-on experience in an environment much like the one in the T-6(A Texan II).
"Our new simulator lets them be in the same sitting position and the same posture they would be in while flying and still experience that same spatial disorientation they would experience while flying."
Earlier, the USAF used the Barany chair as the spatial disorientation simulator device, which was capable of maintaining certain body and posture positions while spinning on the chair.
The new simulator will be able to teach the trainees to recognise, confirm, prevent and recover from spatial disorientation before they fly for the first time.
Gyro IPT II users will be able to fly the simulator in a fully interactive flight training environment and can experience similar scenarios.
Fleming added: "This device will save lives in the long run because it will prepare them for experiencing (spatial disorientation) inside the aircraft, allowing them to respond and react to it faster."
Image: Technical Sergeant Benjamin Hoffman and Major Michael Fleming monitor Colonel James Fisher on the video feed from the cockpit of the new spatial disorientation simulator. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John Day.