Date of Award

Fall 2003

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Shawn Dohierty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Christina Frederick, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ken Stackpoole, Ph.D.


Pilots using conventional instrumentation can suffer spatial disorientation (SD) when unexpectedly forced to transition from visual flight to instrument flight during roll maneuvers. This simulator study was conducted to see if a 3-D perspective display could prevent this form of spatial disorientation by eliciting the opto-kinetic cervical reflex (OKCR), an instinctive postural response that humans use to maintain awareness of their spatial orientation. The current research found evidence of the OKCR in pilots viewing both a 3-D perspective display and an electronic attitude indicator. Pilots viewing a standard moving-horizon attitude indicator produced little or no OKCR response. However, pilots still showed some indication of SD during transitions from visual flight to instrument flight while using the 3-D perspective display.