This year at AOPA's twelfth annual Fly-in, you can not only learn about spatial disorientation, you can experience it.
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.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation also will host a seminar, sponsored by ETC, on the dangers of spatial disorientation (the likely cause of JFK Jr.'s fatal accident), how to recognize it, and how to deal with it. 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.
Pilots who have already attended the spatial disorientation seminar at one of some 85 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.