Available Technology

Variable Visibility Glasses for Instrument Flight Training

During instrument flight training the pilot must have his/her view through the aircraft windscreen restricted to simulate low / visibility conditions while permitting the pilot to view the instrument panel. In one current method, a hood is draped across the aircraft windscreen, or a face mask or blackened glasses is worn by the pilot. All such current methods create potentially hazardous disorientation and an unnatural environment for the trainee. In particular, the face mask and blackened glasses restrict the pilots peripheral vision and require uncomfortable and unnatural head positions in order to see the entire instrument panel. Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center have developed and tested special glasses to be worn by a pilot during instrument flight training. Using novel sensors to determine head position, the glasses restrict the view out of the aircraft windscreen but allow the pilot to clearly see the entire instrument panel, providing a much more realistic low visibility instrument flying experience.
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