Do air force combat pilots use a true Sign Language?

As I am continuing to read the book “Language in Space - a window on Israeli Sign Language” by Irit Meir and Wendy Sandler (ISBN 965-311-056-X), the following question arose in my mind.

Combat pilots serving in air forces of the world are used to describe their dogfights by their hands.
Apparently spoken language is not sufficiently expressive to do justice to the nuances of tactical maneuvers performed by pilots during the heat of air battles.

My question: do they use only pantomime, or do their gestures have elements of true Sign Language?
Was any research done about this subject?
Are air force cadets taught, in a systematic way, how to describe dogfights?

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1 Comment

Comment by Anonymous
2005-10-20 10:36:40

I have no idea about the answer to your question, however I remember that I saw on a movie (Spielberg's Saving private Ryan) that combat soliders used sign language to communiccate over distances (a solider stood on a tower, counting incoming enemy units and reporting with sign language to his officer on the ground). I have no idea whether or not this is accurate (Spielberg is supposed to check the facts about this movie but still).

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