A Breakthrough in Safety: Combatting Spatial Disorientation

Volpe, The National Transportation Systems Center

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

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Volpe The National Transportation Systems Center

U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

April 28, 2016


New Simulation Software Helps Pilots Combat Spatial Disorientation


Spatial disorientation is a factor in roughly 10 percent of loss-of-control events, which are the leading cause of fatal accidents in commercial aircraft. FAA provided funding through the SBIR program to develop technology that can be used with existing simulation equipment to train pilots to recognize and react to spatial disorientation in flight.

A NASA flight simulator cab.
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Volpe Staff at U.S. and International Events

Volpe staff were featured at the following events in April:

  • Michael Scarpino presented an overview of alternative fuels available for U.S. DOT fleet applications at the state transportation Accelerating Adoption of Alternative Fueled Vehicles Workshop in Austin, Texas, on April 18. Scarpino discussed benefits, costs, use cases, and vehicles available for compressed natural gas, propane, biodiesel, ethanol, and electricity.
  • Scarpino also presented an overview of the Department of Energy's Clean Cities deployment of alternative fuel vehicles at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Fleet Manager Workshop in Falls Church, Virginia, on April 14. Scarpino shared information and best practices for installing charging equipment for electric vehicles.
  • Kevin Harnett discussed automotive cybersecurity and safety at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2016 World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, on April 12.
  • Michael Green, Andrew Reovan, and a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) representative presented findings from two FHWA reports on uses of geospatial applications for transportation performance management at the 2016 GIS for Transportation Symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina, April 5-7.
  • Christine Guy and Melissa Wong met with small businesses at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s third annual Massachusetts Business Matchmaker, hosted in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, at the University of Lowell on April 11.   


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