Research Topics

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automated vehicles
  • Autonomous systems
  • Cognitive
  • Command and control
  • Data analytics
  • Flight research - avionics
  • Flight testing
  • Human factors/ergonomics
  • Human simulation
  • Photonics/optical sensors
  • Sensors
  • UAV research
  • Wireless communication

The Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) is a world-renowned flight test laboratory that conducts research on human-in-the-loop and intelligent autonomous systems to increase efficiency, inter-operability, and safety.

The lab has been in operation for 21 years with 2,400 hours of flight test and 305-plus projects. OPL has 11 instrumented aircraft (six manned, five unmanned) and six flight simulators. Systems of particular interest include flight decks, airborne sensor systems, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems, and automotive user interface systems. 

OPL resources and capabilities include the following:

  • Labs, shops, hangars, tooling, fixtures, instrumentation

  • Current USAF/AFRL Public Aircraft Operations (PAO)

  • Flight Test process for DoDD 5030.61/AWB-340 and GFR

  • Experienced flight testers and human factors professionals

  • Cognitive Assessment Tool Set (CATS)

  • Flying physiological episode assessment sensors: ECG, EEG, GSR, SpO2, respiration, temp, air quality, physiological shirts, eye tracking, etc.

News

TCTS-II at OPL

OPL flight tests integral to academia-industry-government collaboration on air combat training system

The University of Iowa Technology Institute’s Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL) recently supported Collins Aerospace in the first rounds of flight tests of an air combat training system designed to prepare U.S. Navy and Air Force pilots and crews for aerial combat.
Iowa Spirit Squad and Herky at OPL

OPL's Mi-2 helicopters and L-29 jet win in Iowa DOT photo contest

An in-flight photograph of one of the University of Iowa's Mi-2 helicopters earned first place in the helicopter category of the Iowa Department of Transportation's biennial Iowa Aviation photo contest for 2019-2020. 

Contact the Director

OPL Brochure

Legacy Website

VISIT OPL