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Helicopter Urban Navigation Training Using Virtual Environments
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Helicopter missions are never defined as ...successful navigation to and return from a location. Navigation, in and of itself, is not the mission - it is, however, a skill that all helicopter pilots are expected to master in order to function as pilots. Navigation is a means to an end. Helicopter operations, being inherently expensive and unforgiving of mistakes, are prime candidates for such innovative training techniques as virtual 3-D fly-throughs. This thesis, as a logical extension of previous research, seeks Out ways to enhance current training methods for urban helicopter navigation using state-of-the-art-technology. Using empirical data from pilot surveys and controlled experiments, principles can be formulated to determine the level of computer graphics fidelity necessary for helicopter crews to conduct a virtual flight in an urban setting that is a credible, effective tool in preparation of an actual flight. This research does not seek a replacement method of training helicopter terrain navigation - pilots must still be taught the fundamental skills of map interpretation and terrain association using conventional training techniques. However, it is the intent of this research to explore methods of enhancing and supplementing site - specific helicopter navigation training through the transfer of spatial knowledge from the virtual world to real-world applications.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE