Photo of pilots practice landing
Fused reality goggles let this pilot see a runway that’s not there. The technology lets pilots practice landing without risking an accident. (Credit: Systems Technology)

When a plane overshoots the final approach, often the pilot’s natural — and dangerous — instinct is to pitch the aircraft up to slow down and land. It’s one of the leading causes of accidents, especially with small airplanes. But what if that same mistake happened at 5,000 feet instead?

A new virtual reality tool developed by Systems Technology Inc. in cooperation with NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center can help pilots train for these scenarios in real life — with far less danger. The simulator hooks into any airplane and, with the aid of virtual reality goggles, layers a virtual scene over the real world outside the cockpit.