An interactive virtual environment for training map-readings skill in helicopter pilots
McLean, Timothy D.
Darken, Rudolph P.
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Currently, Student Naval Aviators are trained to interpret 1:50,000 scale contour maps by watching VHS videotapes. These tapes show a helicopter moving about twice its normal speed over desert terrain. Primarily due to the lack of interactivity in these videos, students often make mistakes very early in the videotaped flight. The helicopter does not stop until the tape is over, hence, the training evolution quickly becomes useless because students usually make mistakes during the first minute of the tape and are unable to recover or to learn from those mistakes. Based on a previous study at the Naval Postgraduate School, a training system that utilizes virtual environment technology was developed that is compliant with the Information for the 21st Century (IT-21) initiative. The system was built using a Windows NT / Intel (Wintel) based computer along with three 24-inch monitors to train the tasks of map interpretation and terrain association. This desktop system was fielded at Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron 10 (HS-10) for experimentation. Results of this experiment indicate that student pilots who received VE training performed the navigation task better in the helicopter than students who received only conventional training. Also, an IT-21 Wintel based computer is capable of rendering a graphically intensive multi-monitor application at frame rates suitable for training
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