Video Games Help Fighter Pilots


Feeling blue that with November here, winter is not far behind? Grounded pilots have a good excuse to spend their time playing video games when they can’t get a real flight fix. A study of cadets in the Israeli Air Force flight school showed that a game-playing group performed better in real-life flying tests than non-gaming cadets. Standard commercial combat-game software was used. The study found the games required skills in tracking, monitoring, situation assessment and memory, and honed workload-coping and attention-management skills. The video training was subsequently incorporated into the flight-school curriculum. Now, 10 years after that study, the same researchers are developing software targeted at improving the scores of basketball players. Aimed at college and professional teams, the “IntelliGym” products claim to give a competitive edge — exercise for the brain. Can games for pilots be far behind?