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
An #Airman looks on as an F-15E Strike Eagle prepares to launch Dec. 4, 2018 @NellisAFB, Nevada. The 757th AMXS par… https://t.co/E8nmg19ou4
RT @LockheedMartin: If you like GPS, thank your @USAirForce. We're excited to have built their faster, more secure GPS III satellite - laun…
Happy #WrightBrothersDay! 115 years later and we are still continuing their legacy of #innovation. #Aviation https://t.co/DG5xmqd4rV
More than the uniform. This #Airman creates unique cosplay costumes to relax & stay ready to fight.… https://t.co/5TWDvOsIlO
#F35 Lighting IIs may move to @TeamTyndall while #Airmen deliver supplies during #OperationChristmasDrop. For more,… https://t.co/eaMq9bF5d4
For #MWD teams, trust is everything, and their bond can become unbreakable. https://t.co/qQM5U14Qec https://t.co/WtwAsOtKHz
The committed snow barn team at #JointBaseElmendorfRichardson works 24/7 snow removal ops for the installation’s st… https://t.co/AncArSlhIx
The #WorldsToughestMudder is arguably one of the most extreme, insane and imposing 24-hour obstacle course challeng… https://t.co/1AqTQL1YGD
Ever wonder how maintenance #Airmen make it possible to support hundreds of personnel and multiple aircraft? It sta… https://t.co/ivQ2E4HvZi
#Aviano's 56th Rescue Squadron partners with Italian forces for Exercise Sater -- Mountain Search and Rescue traini… https://t.co/4TUt6JvN4C
A @28thBombWing B-1B & a @914ARW KC-135 conduct aerial refueling over the U.S. on Dec. 10. The #Lancer serves as p… https://t.co/GsYRx6TheX
When you've got a dirty job, clean up can take up a lot of time. Thankfully @48FighterWing #maintenance repair & re… https://t.co/4AB3HywxZh
#DYK, @USAFCENT's weather #Airmen are not only concerned with terrestrial weather, but also space weather.… https://t.co/oqmuv3INXi
.@ArmedSvcsHockey hosted an annual Las Vegas International Championship & this year's #MVP award went to a… https://t.co/RxXoivPgco
RT @AFSpace: Recalculate no more 🙌 GPS III is launching soon! This one goes out to our 4 BILLION GPS users worldwide. #Kindofabigdeal #GPS
.@HAFB's 421st Fighter Squadron & #aircraft maintenance unit received its first pair of #F35s Dec. 12. They are the… https://t.co/MWXxz3Rr7q
#SantaClaus paid a special visit to McGhee Tyson #Airmen and their families. Santa, Mrs. Claus & their elves arrive… https://t.co/rWF4adfxts
RT @EielsonAirForce: The work of keeping one of the most remote, austere runways in the world open during six months of sub-zero temperatur…
RT @INDOPACOM: Since 1952, @PACAF personnel have volunteered as Santa’s helpers, getting presents to remote Pacific Islands. Instead of com…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: What an honor to congratulate our #USAF team on winning the first-ever inter-service Alpha Warrior competition — a str…