Simulator sickness in U.S. Navy flight simulators

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1989 Jan;60(1):10-6.


Flight simulators have become a major factor in pilot training. A general finding from Navy research on simulator design is that equipment features that offer faithful representation improve pilot performance and promote pilot acceptance. To the extent that an aircraft produces motion sickness, its simulator should induce the same result. However, reports of simulator sickness appear to be increasing and a shortcoming in simulation is implied when these effects occur in simulators during maneuvers that do not occasion them in the aircraft. This article presents incidence data from surveys of the 10 simulators at 6 different Naval/Marine Corps Air Stations. Approximately 1,200 simulator flights were recorded. Some severe motion sickness symptoms were recorded and some simulators induced unsteadiness afterwards. Individuals experiencing effects may be at risk if they drive themselves home or return to demanding activities at work. The simulators which exhibited the highest incidences of sickness were helicopter simulators with cathode ray tube (CRT) infinity optics and six-degrees-of-freedom moving base systems. Of those studied, fixed-wing, fixed-base, dome displays had relatively low incidence of simulator sickness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aircraft*
  • Computer Systems*
  • Motion Sickness / etiology*
  • Naval Medicine*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • United States