PILOTS' UNREAL WORLD How can you land a plane if you can't see the ground? When rough weather dials visibility down to zero, even the most routine landings become fraught with danger.The U.S. Air Force is trying out a fix for this problem -- an onboard computer that digitally recreates pilots' surroundings. It lets pilots look at a rendered world, when they can't rely on the real one to guide them.The program -- called "synthetic-vision" -- has been in use on civilian flights for years, National Defense magazine reports. And now the Air Force's 412th Flight Test Squadron is trying it out in a modified C-135 transport plane. Just like night-vision goggles let troopers roam around in the dark, this system is supposed to let pilots see in stormy skies.But "synthetic-vision" is still years and years away from widespread military use. Digital maps of most major commercial airports already exist; but recreating the rough terrains an Air Force pilot would encounter -- and updating those images in real-time -- is going to take a lot of work.
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