Spatial Disorientation Trainer Introduced

Air Education and Training Command officials said they boosted pilot safety instruction by introducing the GYRO Integrated Physiological Trainer II, according to a release. It is the first spatial-disorientation flight trainer that allows student pilots to experience the physical effects of being dazed in the cockpit due to stresses on their visual, auditory, vestibular, and other body functions. “Until now, the only way a student pilot could learn to fully recognize and recover from spatial disorientation was to strap in and fly. This trainer changes that,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Woodrow, chief of AETC’s physiology programs branch, in the release. The GYRO IPT II resides at Sheppard AFB, Texas. By January 2016, AETC intends to add the trainer at each of its undergraduate pilot training bases—Columbus AFB, Miss.; Laughlin AFB, Texas; and Vance AFB, Okla.—along with JBSA-Randolph, Texas. Student pilots fly simulated T-6 sorties in the trainer. It challenges them to “recognize when they’re experiencing spatial disorientation, then combat the effects of in-flight illusions and continue the simulated sortie safely,” said Maj. Eydin Hansen, a flight commander for aerospace and operational physiology.