This year at AOPA's twelfth annual Fly-In, not only can you learn about spatial disorientation, you can experience it.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation will host a seminar on the dangers of spatial disorientation, how to recognize it and how to deal with it. Spatial disorientation occurs when a body's sensory input to the brain is erroneous, is misinterpreted by the brain, or is contradictory (eyes see one thing, inner ear feels something else). ASF and the FAA have just completed a study on spatial disorientation. You can hear the results of the study during the seminar, which is open to all pilots, not just AOPA members.
Throughout the day, pilots can experience spatial disorientation in one of the few general aviation motion-visual simulators made. Environmental Tectonics Corporation's Aircrew Training Systems is bringing in a General Aviation Trainer II (GAT II), which is an enclosed motion-visual simulator.
Pilots who have already attended the ASF spatial disorientation seminar at other locations around the country have said the information presented is a real wake-up call about a potentially deadly situation.
Time and location for the spatial disorientation seminar, as well as more than a dozen others, can be found on the AOPA Fly-in page of AOPA Online.
Pilots may sign up for time in the simulator beginning at 8:30 a.m. AOPA members can read a review of the ETC device and others in the online archives of AOPA Flight Training.