Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Major Professor

Gene Riggs

Committee Members

Mike Carter, Glen Damello


This research attempted to define the advantages of using a two-seat trainer aircraft for conducting initial Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL) pilot training. Several driving factors support this concept. First, the design of aircraft and flight controls for the V/STOL environment is unique. Second, the tasks performed by V/STOL aircraft are similarly unique, and differ considerably from conventional aircraft. Third, the characteristics of the slow speed flight regime require a level of visual and motion fidelity not currently available in flight simulators. Finally, when the aircraft is operating in the V/STOL environment very little time is available for corrective action and/or ejecting from the aircraft if a dangerous situation develops. This makes close instructor supervision, available only in a two seat aircraft, even more important. Comparisons between simulator and actual flight were analyzed, along with capabilities and limitations of a variety of modern flight simulators. A review of V/STOL history. aircraft design, unique tasks, and current flight training methodology was conducted to show that V/STOL flight presents unique challenges and dangers that demand safe and effective training methods. Advances m V/STOL technology were examined for their effect of reducing the difficulties associated with V/STOL flight. It was concluded that despite all efforts to make future V/STOL aircraft safer and easier to fly, initial exposure to the slow speed and hovering flight environment would remain high risk. This requires near immediate instructor input and the option for possible intervention achievable only in a two seat aircraft.

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