The Spatial Disorientation (SD) Training Lab provides students the opportunity to experience visual and vestibular illusions that may occur during flight. The SD Training Lab educates students on awareness of these illusions and ways to avoid spatial disorientation.
By experiencing illusions first-hand (on the ground), pilots are better prepared to recognize an illusion when it happens during flight and to take immediate and appropriate action. Spatial Disorientation is defined as the inability of a pilot to correctly interpret aircraft attitude, altitude, or airspeed in relation to the Earth or other points of reference. Genetically speaking, humans are designed to maintain spatial orientation on the ground.
The three-dimensional environment of flight is unfamiliar to the human body, creating sensory conflicts and illusions that make spatial orientation difficult, and sometimes impossible to achieve. NTSB accident data suggest that spatial disorientation is a precursor to many general aviation accidents — particularly in night or limited visibility weather conditions. Statistics show that between 5 to 10% of all general aviation accidents can be attributed to spatial disorientation, 90% of which are fatal.
- Force Dynamics 401cr Motion Simulator: A full motion flight simulator with four degrees of freedom: pitch, roll, heave, and 360° of continuous yaw. The 401cr uses a variety of existing popular flight simulator software titles with or without a virtual reality component in addition to custom made applications by ERAU. The 401cr motion system provides large motion range that truly simulates forces, delivers high-impact acceleration, and has best-in-class frequency response that helps eliminate motion sickness.
- Virtual Reality (VR) Computer Station: High powered computer with a Valve Index VR headset and hand controls capable of running flight simulation software and other standalone VR applications.
The SD Training lab conducts research on VR spatial disorientation training. Current research studies include measuring the effectiveness and perception of VR visual and vestibular illusions training for pilots and their awareness of these illusions.