PILOTS flying in one of BAE’s state-of-the-art Typhoon jets are being told what to do by a stern-sounding woman.

Studies have shown that pilots take more notice of the female voice under extreme conditions – and these findings have been used by BAE.

It is the first time the company, which has bases in Samlesbury and Warton, have used a female voice – which has been nicknamed ‘nagging Nora’ – to deliver recorded warnings to pilots.

The well-spoken voice used in the cockpit has been compared to actress Joanna Lumley’s.

Andrea Kay, from BAE, said: “We have conducted studies to find out what pilots who are flying under both stressful physical and mental conditions are more receptive to.

“It’s called human factors engineering. Our in-house engineers and psychologists have proven that pilots respond best to the female voice.

“There is as much psychology in the cockpit as there are clever systems. A voice warning and recognition system is one way of helping the pilots.”

Research based on pilot experiences, particularly in combat situations, proved pilots were able to pick out the female voice amid the flurry of radio chatter in stressful situations.

The female voice alerts the pilot to urgent warnings and her intonation changes depending on the severity of the warning.

She said: “In harsh environments when pilots are stressed to the limit, they only have milliseconds to respond.”

She said if the message is ignored, the voice will become more authoritative and louder, and red warning lights will come on in the cockpit.

“The female voice gets the most important messages across in the most effective way. If you don’t listen, she gets harsher and louder in both tone and volume.”

She said the female warning system has taken a number of years to develop.

In the test stages a Lancashire voice was used.

A male voice has been chosen to deliver information-type signals, such as altitude and location.