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An adaptive model is presented to describe the behavior of the human operator in response to sudden changes in plant dynamics and transient disturbances. The plant simulated for tracking experiments is approximately second-order and has rate and attitude feedback augmentation for increased stability. The failure of the rate sensor and/or the attitude sensor results in a sudden transition in the order and gain of the effective plant dynamics. These failures may be accompanied by hard-over transient conditions in either the rate or attitude sensors. The adaptive model suggested has a variable structure, contains mode switching based on pattern recognition as evidence, and incorporates the decision-control logic required for successful adaptation to failures. The model in effect attempts to mimic the control strategy or algorithm used by a trained operator.