Historically, the objective of new technology development has been to enhance pilot performance (such as situation awareness) without causing problems such as Spatial Disorientation (SD). However, when improperly designed or poorly integrated, such technologies may actually reduce performance and increase the likelihood of unintended consequences. SD continues to be a serious problem in the military flight domain and it is critical that both the potential to cause problems as well as support effective defensive mitigation strategies be considered early in the development of new technologies. Past research has shown that new technologies can change operator behaviors. For example, the availability of visual information provided via Helmet-Mounted Displays (HMDs) results in pilots looking farther off-axis for longer durations than when the information is not provided. This paper discusses an ongoing flight test that is conducted on an instrumented L-29 fighter jet trainer that is equipped with a Spatial Audio Horizon Cueing (SAHC) system and an HMD with a conformal referenced (CR) symbology and a forward referenced (FR) symbology. The participants are fighter pilots conducting a series of flight maneuvers while tracking targets with an HMD cueing system. We are investigating the effectiveness of SAHC, in dynamic flight, in conjunction with HMD symbologies, as audio cueing has a high probability to transition into the latest generation fighter aircraft, where seamless integration will be critical to ensure reliable information is consistent with, and complementary to, the existing visual symbology.
& Williams, H.
(2019). Helmet Mounted Display Format and Spatial Audio Cueing Flight Test. 20th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 241-246.