A Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) study of 18 loss-of-control events determined that a lack of external visual references was a contributing factor in 17 of these events. CAST recommended that manufacturers should develop and implement virtual day-VMC display systems, such as synthetic vision (SV) or equivalent systems (CAST Safety Enhancement, SE-200). In support of this recommended action, CAST has requested studies to define minimum requirements for virtual day-visual meteorological conditions (VMC) displays to improve flight crew awareness of airplane attitude. NASA’s research in Virtual day-VMC displays, known as synthetic vision systems, are intended to support intuitive flight crew attitude awareness similar to a day-VMC-like environment, especially if they could be designed to create visual dominance. A study was conducted to evaluate the utility of ambient vision (AV) cues paired with virtual Head-Up Display (HUD) symbology on a prototype head-worn display (HWD) during recovery from unusual attitudes in a simulated environment. The virtual-HUD component meets the requirement that the HWD may be used as an equivalent display to the HUD. The presence of AV cueing leverages the potential that a HWD has over the HUD for spatial disorientation prevention. The simulation study was conducted as a single-pilot operation, under realistic flight scenarios, with off-nominal events occurring that were capable of inducing unusual attitudes. Independent variables of the experiment included: 1) AV capability (on vs off) 2) AV display opaqueness (transparent vs opaque) and display location (HWD vs traditional headdown displays); AV cues were only present when the HWD was being worn by the subject pilot.
Stephanie N. Nicholas, Jarvis (Trey) J. Arthur III, Kathryn Ballard, Renee C. Lake, Kyle E. Ellis, and Lawrence J. Prinzel III, "Evaluation of a head-worn display with ambient vision cues for unusual attitude recovery ," Proc. SPIE 11019, Situation Awareness in Degraded Environments 2019, 110190E (Presented at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing: April 17, 2019; Published: 1 May 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2521125.
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