I was watching one of the morning news shows today, a Professor of Psychology was talking about his new book (The Organized Mind ). While he was discussing it he made the following statement:
The brain doesn’t multi-task, it processes sequentially…
I laughed out loud; obviously he doesn’t know anything about fighter pilots. Each engagement, whether a training mission or actual combat is one massive multi-tasking event.
The fighter pilot must fly the aircraft at the edge of its envelope while simultaneously:
- -Talk on two radios (and inter-com if a two seater).
- -Maintain aircraft position in relation to his wing-man.
- -Fight the enemy.
- -Evaluate weapons perimeters of his aircraft and the enemies.
- -Operate radar.
- -Respond to aural warnings from electronics and wing-men as well as controllers.
- -Evaluate the “big picture” as it continually evolves.
- -Respond to visual threats.
- -Keep the aircraft at an airspeed and altitude that allows it to fight.
- -Project where the fight/threat will be in near and far term.
- -Put his weapons on the target on time.
- -And the hard part; egress without being shot down.
The above video is a division of F-16s engaged against Surface to Air Missiles (SAM) in Iraq circa 1991. Two of the four aircraft were shot down. The heads Up Display (HUD) footage is from one of the aircraft that made it out. He dodged six SAMs. Notice how the aircraft never stops maneuvering; even when all the multi-tasking is occurring.
Below is a video with com of a Greek F-16 engaging (ironically) a Turkish F-16. I picked it so that the communication (which is sub-titled) can be easily understood. In it you can clearly see how the lead pilot, while engaged in a dog fight, was controlling his wing-man and giving direction for the big picture and egress. Again while engaged in a high g dog fight.
The brain doesn’t multi-task? Sorry Professor Levitin, I call bull sh*t!
In my books I write about multi-tasking: the long and short of it is; if a pilot can not multi-task, he/she will not be around very long especially in combat.