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Naval aviation training includes an indoctrination session in what looks like a ride from some amusement park. The device takes up an entire huge room, and has individual containers attached to a larger wheel, allowing the person inside to be spun in multiple directions as the main wheel spins around. It’s also pitch black inside, except for a tiny pinpoint of red light you’re told to focus on so you can report whether the light moved left or right. And most of the time, we get it wrong.

The official name of the training mechanism is the “Multispatial Disorientation Device,” but no one ever calls it that. Everyone refers to it by the more popular nickname: “Spin and Puke.”

Its purpose is to let you feel what it’s like when your eyes and your inner ear, which controls your balance, are fooled either by darkness or clouds or g-forces. The future pilots learn that if they trust their own eyes and ears and instincts, they will crash and die because our...

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