Document Type


Publication Date





Up to one-third of all aircraft mishaps are attributable to spatial disorientation (SD), costing lives and millions of dollars. One potential solution is to provide supplementary sensory cues to help improve pilots’ situation awareness (SA). Given existing demands on the pilot’s visual system, audition and touch present the greatest potential for success. However, accurate 3D audio perception may be problematic in noisy operational environments. To determine the effects, participants performed an azimuth cue localization task while listening to 90 dB helicopter noise. Cue modalities conditions included 3D audio, vibrotactile, and audiotactile. Accuracy was better and response times were significantly faster for tactile and audiotactile cues than for 3D audio cues alone. The results illustrate the deleterious effects of loud ambient noise on 3D audio localization and suggest audiotactile cues may offer a viable alternative non-visual display for counteracting SD.