TRAINING TRANSFER IN LEARNING TO LAND AN AIRCRAFT: SEEKING A ROLE FOR BASIC ASSOCIATIVE PRINCIPLES
 
Provost, S. and Wilson, P., Southern Cross University and Lansdowne, A., Atkins, R., Fernandez, C., Holme, P., Cassera, B. and Pfister, H.P., University of Newcastle, Australia
 
This experiment was designed to help identify the associative processes involved when a novice pilot learns to control an aircraft. Learning to land was selected as a critical skill where there is already evidence of transfer from PC-based software to simulator performance. Maintenance of a correct 'glide slope' with respect to the runway can be achieved by keeping the shape ratio of the 2-dimensional projection of the runway constant throughout the descent. Na´ve subjects first participated in a simple tracking task requiring them to maintain a trapezoid presented on a computer screen in a constant shape by responding on keyboard "arrow-keys" when either horizontal or vertical shape deviations were introduced. They were then given simple flight control instructions before being asked to land a NOVASIM flight training device. Vertical and horizontal deviations from the glide slope were measured from between 2 nautical miles (the start point of the simulation) to 0.5 nautical miles. Acquisition of skilled performance was generally quite slow to emerge, and varied widely between individuals. Under certain conditions, there was some evidence for negative transfer from the shape tracking task on learning to land. It is hoped that more detailed examination of the nature of the stimuli controlling responding, and their relationship to behaviour in this task, will help to identify the features of simulated experiences most likely to promote or to inhibit transfer of training.