HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force upgrades 100-year-old technology

Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Hoffman and Maj. Michael Fleming monitor Col. James Fisher on the video feed from the cockpit of the new spatial disorientation simulator Aug. 5, 2015, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Hoffman and Fleming directed Fisher through various sensations of roll, pitch and yaw to induce spatial disorientation. Hoffman is the 14th Medical Group Aerospace and Operational Physiology Flight chief, Fleming is the 14th MDG AOP Flight commander and Fisher is the14th Flying Training Wing vice commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John Day)

Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Hoffman and Maj. Michael Fleming monitor Col. James Fisher on the video feed from the cockpit of the new spatial disorientation simulator Aug. 5, 2015, at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Hoffman and Fleming directed Fisher through various sensations of roll, pitch and yaw to induce spatial disorientation. Hoffman is the 14th Medical Group Aerospace and Operational Physiology Flight chief, Fleming is the 14th MDG AOP Flight commander and Fisher is the14th Flying Training Wing vice commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John Day)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- Spatial disorientation, the inability to determine one’s position in an open space, can lead to a dangerous scenario inside a cockpit.

The disorientation is caused when the body's internal gyros do not match up with aircraft instrument readings and what the pilot expects to see. It occurs because current trainer technology is not of a high enough quality. However, that’s changing with the implementation of a new simulator, the GYRO Integrated Physiological Trainer II, into Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training. Columbus Air Force Base joins Sheppard AFB, Texas, in operating the new technology.

The simulator will allow SUPT students to begin spatial disorientation training before they even enter the aircraft.

"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)," said Maj. Michael Fleming, the 14th Medical Group Aerospace Physiology Flight commander. "Our new simulator lets them be in the same sitting positon and the same posture they would be in while flying and still experience that same spatial disorientation they would experience while flying."

The simulator exposes users to typical vestibular (inner ear) and visual illusions found in aviation, teaching them to recognize, confirm, prevent and recover from spatial disorientation before they fly for the first time.

The former spatial disorientation simulator device was the Barany chair. By maintaining certain body and posture positions while spinning on the chair, it could give a sense of the effects, but not in a cockpit.

"We are literally replacing 100-year-old technology here," said Capt. Sharon Elliott, the 14th MDG officer in charge of physiology operations. "Before we could use the Barany chair to manipulate (spatial disorientation), but now they will get to experience it in the most realistic environment possible."

Fleming explained how the GYRO IPT II is able to simulate various sensations of roll, pitch, yaw, and the sense of acceleration and tilt felt during takeoff.

In addition to feeling the effects, GYRO IPT II users actually fly the simulator in a fully interactive flight training environment, similar to that of the T-6A, and experience flying under those effects without the repercussions of crashing an actual aircraft.

"(Spatial disorientation) causes mishaps in the Air Force and so we have been looking for a solution to this problem for years," Fleming said. "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."

By January 2016, Sheppard AFB; Vance AFB, Oklahoma; Columbus AFB; Laughlin AFB, Texas; and Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, will all have the simulators in their facilities and as part of the syllabus for student and instructor pilot training.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@20FighterWing votes for #NapoleonDynamite as they welcomed Jon and Doug Heder to the base. https://t.co/I8wZLFGE5T https://t.co/Un04Fz1tra
RT @DeptofDefense: Preparation is key. Who you prepare with is, too. @USAirForce airmen recently trained with their Filipino 🇵🇭 counterpart…
.@LukeAFB Lightning integrated technicians utilize cross functional teams to unify #maintenance specialties, increa… https://t.co/m4Vni22u4h
A new storage facility @TeamMisawa allows propulsions #Airmen the ability to rapidly provide F-16 Fighting Falcon e… https://t.co/xEnuApKS45
The nation’s most elite, #USAF #HonorGuard team, recently debuted their 2019 routine! (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemb… https://t.co/QxwpQdczUO
20 @AFSpecOpsCmd #Airmen will ruck from TX to FL in honor of Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, a #SpecialTacticshttps://t.co/bbti0C2Nlm
#Doyouevenlift? We do! @AirMobilityCmd #C17s recently delivered #hope on its way to the man-made humanitarian crisi… https://t.co/b1GicnXJ3l
.@AFWERX & @Techstars announce the 10 companies participating in #techaccelerator. See how they're working to solve… https://t.co/BCdoR4Cmmt
RT @DeptofDefense: These probably aren’t the FRIES you’re used to. @USArmy Special Forces operators practice their skills with the Fast Ro…
RT @AFEnergy: From installations, to propulsion, to maintenance, to research... engineers are critical to every part of the @usairforce mis…
.@HAFB #Airmen and the F-35 are a lethal combo during exercise Red Flag. For more about the exercise:… https://t.co/nc7F82hPI8
A B-2 Spirit bomber, deployed from @Whiteman_AFB, is staged on the flightline @JointBasePHH, Jan. 30, 2019. (… https://t.co/SVPJe2AfGH
#USAF, @USMC & @USArmy air & ground force elements train together, strengthen skills in the field and sky. #Jointhttps://t.co/Arm1IXIaDy
#DYK: @DMAFB is one of seven #AirForce bases w/forward area refueling point capabilities, and there are only 63 qua… https://t.co/UI2SzoYdjA
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Anyone out there watch Super Bowl LIII? Well, @USNorthernCmd and NORAD fighter aircraft kept the airspace safe during t…
#AirForce formalizes policy on retention of non-deployable Airmen. https://t.co/O8yfj5acRt https://t.co/7t5ynNMgo2
It's a 2-way street! Find out how our #ProfessionalDevelopment Teams are a benefit to both mentor and mentee.… https://t.co/nxmtpZWnis