Simulating Speed and Height Cues in the C-130 Weapon System Trainer,
TACTICAL AIRLIFT TRAINING GROUP (34TH) LITTLE ROCK AFB AR
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The C-130 Weapon System Trainer WST at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas is, perhaps, the most realistic full mission simulator in DoD. Much of its realism and training value comes from the ability of its full color, CGI visual system to provide speed and altitude cue while flying low level over a real world visual data base VDB of more than 50,000 square nautical miles. The C-130 aircraft is navigated visually while flying at approximately 250 knots and 300 feet above the ground. Visual ground references in the C-130 WST must realistically reflect chart information and provide the visual cues necessary for confident flight above the ground contour. This paper describes various types of speed and height cues and highlights the major attributes of the C-130 WST visual system that give these cues during a typical C-130 WST mission profile. Many internal conclusions and observations are admittedly subjective...based on several years of system use and thousands of hours of flying time...and not confirmed by hard data from the behavioral sciences community. The rate of technological change has far outpaced our ability to quantify its impact on human factors under controlled and statistically sound conditions. Those offices with the authority to procure and apply new simulator technology are quite reasonably hesitant to provide funding without such proof. However, the presumed benefits of using new technology can sometimes outweigh the risk of using that technology without analytic proof of its benefits. Funding actions may at times be the result of intuitive judgment and visceral reaction, but full acceptance and application of new technology requires analytic proof of its impact on human factors.