Measurement of Transfer of Upset Recovery Training
An airplane upset is an unexpected aircraft attitude that threatens loss of control and ground impact. Over the past ten years and more, upsets have been the major cause of air transport hull losses and passenger/crew fatalities. As a consequence, most airline companies provide their pilots with simulator-based upset recovery training. However, until recently, no research existed to demonstrate that such training improves a pilot's ability to control an actual airplane.
For the past three years, Dr. Rodney Rogers, Professor of Aeronautical Science, has been involved in research to measure transfer of upset recovery training conducted using flight simulation devices. The research has been funded by two FAA grants totaling $400,000. Dr. Cass Howell, Rogers colleague in the Aeronautical Science Department, was a co-research on the first of the two grants. Research funded by the second grant was conducted in partnership with the Environment Tectonics Corporation of Pennsylvania, manufacturer of centrifuge-based flight simulators capable of replicating the G forces encountered in actual upset recovery maneuvering.
Results of the research have been published in three FAA Technical Reports available online. These papers provide the first experimental evidence that simulator-based upset recovery training improves a pilot's ability to recovery an actual airplane from a serious upset. Rogers is currently applying for additional FAA funding which, should it be forthcoming, will allow upset recovery research activities to continue at ERAU. He is also a member of the International Committee for Aeronautical Training in the Extended Envelop (ICATEE) sponsored by the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. The ICATEE committee is charged with preparing a report to recommend changes to general aviation and air transport training which will strengthen pilot skills in upset recovery maneuvering.
Dr. Rodney O. Rogers is a professor of Aeronautical Science at Embry Riddle's Daytona Beach Campus.