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Training simulation for helicopter navigation by characterizing visual scan patterns


, : Training simulation for helicopter navigation by characterizing visual scan patterns. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 82(9): 871-878

Helicopter overland navigation is a cognitively complex task that requires continuous monitoring of system and environment parameters and years of training. This study investigated potential improvements to training simulation by analyzing the influences of flight expertise on visual scan patterns. There were 12 military officers who varied in flight expertise as defined by total flight hours who participated in overland navigation tasks. Their gaze parameters were tracked via two eye tracking systems while subjects were looking at out-the-window (OTW) and topographic Map views in a fixed based helicopter simulator. Flight performance measures were not predicted by the expertise level of pilots. However, gaze parameters and scan management skills were predicted by the expertise level. For every additional 1000 flight hours, on average, the model predicted the median dwell will decrease 28 ms and the number of view changes will increase 33 times. However, more experienced pilots scanned more OTW than novice pilots, which was contrary to our expectation. A visualization tool (FEST: Flight and Eye Scan visualization Tool) to replay navigation tasks and corresponding gaze data was developed. Qualitative analysis from FEST revealed visual scan patterns of expert pilots not only looking ahead on the map, but also revisiting areas on the map they just flew over to retain confidence in their orientation. Based on the analysis provided above, this work demonstrates that neurophysiological markers, such as eye movements, can be used to indicate the aspects of a trainee's cognitive state that are useful for cuing an instructional system.

US$29.90

PMID: 21888270


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