THE PERFORMANCE OF GROUND OBSERVERS IN DETECTING, RECOGNIZING, AND ESTIMATING RANGE TO LOW-ALTITUDE AIRCRAFT
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV ALEXANDRIA VA HUMAN RESOURCES RESEARCH OFFICE
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The purpose of the test was to determine mans capability to visually detect, recognize, and estimate range to low-altitude aircraft. Twenty-seven Army enlisted men served as observers. The results indicate that man can defect and recognize low-altitude aircraft at a considerable range under near-optimum field conditions. The value of binoculars for aircraft detection was found to be dependent upon a observer offset from the aircraft flight path, b accuracy of early warning, c aircraft speed, and d exhaust smoke trail characteristics of the aircraft. Under the test conditions employed, binoculars reduced the detection range on the most potentially threatening targets, high- speed, head-on jet aircraft. The data show that large range estimation errors occurred. Filmed simulation of the recognition task appears promising as a training tool.