Usability of the Virtual Reality Aviation Trainer for Runway-Width Illusions

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Robert L Thomas
Rafael Dubena
Giovanna Camacho
Nicholas Nieves
Thomas Barcza
Sydney Green
Diana Perera

Abstract

The Virtual Reality Aviation Illusion Trainer (VRAIT) is a simulator that targets the topic of in-flight visual and vestibular illusions affecting pilots, specifically focusing on the runway width illusion. Effective training using state-of-the-art Virtual Reality (VR) technology is a new instructional method that can be leveraged to train pilots in recognition and awareness of aviation illusions, thus fostering a safer environment in the aviation industry. The VRAIT is designed to demonstrate simulated situations that can lead to illusions by providing examples of what the illusions look and/or feel like. A runway illusion scenario was designed, and pilots were recruited to provide feedback on their experience in the VRAIT. During the experience, pilots were reminded of what to do if illusions were experienced in flight through an active learning experience that aimed to better prepare the pilot to identify and take corrective action when and if future in-flight illusions occur. Data was collected on pilot experience during the scenarios, pilot enjoyment, realism, simulator sickness, the effect of the illusion, and knowledge gained in the scenario. Although knowledge on VR as a training tool is widely available, the research aimed to address the gap in whether VR is a useful and effective tool for training pilots for in-flight illusions.

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