This study assessed Taiwanese air force combat jet pilots' ability to cope with spatial disorientation (SD) triggered by cockpit layout and design. The measurement items of psychophysical questionnaire were ranked by 325 air force combat jet pilots. This study prioritized the causes of SD perceived by combat jet pilots resulted from the unfamiliarity with instruments on aircraft undergoing flight training, the aircraft's cockpit canopy and the layout of instruments in the cockpit. A significant difference was found between with-SD experience and without-SD experience subjects' responses from adapting to the size of instruments in the cockpit, and from the helmet-mounted display (HMD). Considerable association was discernible between the position of instruments in the cockpit and combat jet models accrued; as well as between the helmet-mounted display (HMD) and combat jet models accrued. The study identify main cockpit layout and design causing SD of Taiwanese pilots based on combat jet models to eliminate the risk of SD, intensify SD training on preventing SD and provide pilots with skills to anticipate and assess the risk of SD during mission planning, and provide references to the military for future procurement of new aircraft models. Relevance to industry: These results provide important information to the defense manufacturers for designing the cockpit layout of combat jets to prevent SD of specific pilots. Finally, the results show the contribution of ergonomics to support military operational commanders in the design of training and prevention of SD.
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