IAF Develops Cognitive Simulator

“Our goal is to develop the splitting of attention among the helicopter pilots” Juggling between flying an aircraft while reading flight data from its systems at the same time is not an easy task for a pilot. A new simulator developed in the IAF is aimed to meet that exact challenge

Noa Fenigstien | Translation: Eden Sharon

During flight, helicopters pilots are required to juggle between flying, operating the helicopter systems, responding to threats, landing and processing flight data. The flight data is presented in front of the pilots and they are required to split their attention between the data and their surroundings.

“Maneuvering between the flight data and the surroundings is similar to watching a TV show while reading the subtitles”, explains Major Avshalom Gil-Ad, Head of Human-System interface in the IAF. “We decided to try and accelerate the learning process using a cognitive trainer, aimed to speed up thinking process”.

“Develop a different training”
The simulator, developed by the IAF, consists of basic flight systems and 3D glasses with sensors reacting to head movements.
The user “flies”, while the simulator displays images of vehicles for the pilot to classify. In addition, the pilot has to simultaneously maintain strict flight restrictions such as flight path and altitude.

“Our goal is to develop the splitting of attention among the helicopter pilots”, explains Major Gil-Ad. “The simulator allows us to develop a different training strategy for each individual pilot based on his strengths and weaknesses”.
As of now, the simulator goes through trial-runs at the “Blackhawk” simulator squadron in “Palmachim” Airbase and scheduled to enter training program during 2015.