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

OPL L-29 Delfin carrying pod

Schnell, OPL support Collins Aerospace in testing combat training system

The Operator Performance Lab (OPL) has played an important role in developing the Tactical Combat Training System II (TCTS II), a military air combat training tool.
Abbie Moore standing in front of Old Capitol

UI student, future Air Force officer reaches for the stars

She knew the University of Iowa was where she would make that happen. It was ideal for Moore: a top-tier university only a short drive from her hometown. As for what that career would be, Moore looked to family members’ military experience.

Contact the Director

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Legacy Website

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