Recent accident and incident data suggest that Spatial Disorientation (SD) and Loss-of-Energy State Awareness (LESA) for transport category aircraft are becoming an increasingly prevalent safety concern in domestic and international operations. A CAST study of 18 loss-of-control accidents determined that a lack of external visual references (i.e., darkness, instrument meteorological conditions, or both) was associated with a flight crew’s loss of attitude awareness or energy state awareness in 17 of these events. In response, CAST requested that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conduct research to support definition of minimum requirements for Virtual Day-Visual Meteorological Condition (VMC) displays, also known as Synthetic Vision Systems, to accomplish the intended function of improving flight crew awareness of airplane attitude. These research data directly inform the development of minimum aviation system performance standards (MASPS) for RTCA special committee (SC)-213, “Enhanced Flight Vision Systems and Synthetic Vision Systems.” An overview of NASA high-fidelity simulator research is provided that collected data specific to CAST and RTCA needs on the efficacy of synthetic vision technology to aid in attitude awareness and prevent entry into, and recovery from unusual attitudes. The paper highlights our research with low-hour, international flight crews.
Lawrence J. Prinzel, Kyle E. Ellis, Trey J. Arthur, Daniel K. Kiggins, Stephanie N. Nicholas, Renee C. Lake, and Kathryn Ballard, "Evaluating synthetic vision displays for enhanced airplane state awareness," Proc. SPIE 10642, Degraded Environments: Sensing, Processing, and Display 2018, 106420D (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 17, 2018; Published: 2 May 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2305191.
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