Tag Archive: Spatial Disorientation

Are SD accidents not so Common in Aviation?

Accidents due to Spatial Disorientation (SD), in military and general aviation, reportedly vary between 2.1 to 31% [1 – 11]. Despite of physiological limitations of the ‘human’ operator, accident statistics do not correctly reflect SD as a cause, as commonly as expected, especially in the military aviation. In fact, in a review of accidents due …

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Orientation & Pilot Training – Likely Lacunae!

James Doolittle made history on 24 September 1929, when he took off, flew a distance of 20 miles and landed an airplane by instruments alone [1]. The array of instruments included the Sperry Horizon, precursor of the artificial horizon, which still remains the essential instrument for maintaining orientation in flight. 

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Spatial Disorientation – Vestibular Illusions

The vestibular illusions are divided as per the affected sub-system viz. otolith organ or semicircular canals. Though there are many an illusions, only the common vestibular illusions have been briefly discussed.

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Spatial Disorientation – Visual Illusions

Various visual illusions are enumerated here. Though there are many an illusions, only the common visual illusions have been briefly discussed.

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Spatial Disorientation: Prevention

Prevention of SD is a multi-pronged approach. Preventive strategies start with the selection of healthy candidates with normal vestibular function for aviation duties. The trained aircrew should make conscious and concerted efforts to be physically and mentally healthy, and if unwell or under medication – prescribed or self-medicated, must avoid flying under any circumstances for their …

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Spatial Disorientation: An Introduction

Spatial Disorientation is ‘an erroneous sense of the magnitude or direction of any of the control or performance flight instruments’. Stated in the words of Benson, “Spatial disorientation is a state characterized by an erroneous sense of position, attitude, or motion of oneself or one’s aircraft in relation to a fixed, three dimensional co-ordinate system …

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Orientation in Aviation

Man’s desire to soar into the sky led to the departure from his natural habitat. This resulted in a mismatch between the orientation demands of the new environment and his innate ability to orient. Motion stimuli in aviation differ in magnitude, direction, frequency and in the degrees of freedom from that experienced on the ground. …

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Orientation in Aviation: Vision

Vision is the most important sensory organ of orientation. There are, in fact, two distinct visual systems. First is the ‘Focal’ (central) vision. This is concerned with recognition and identification of an object and in general answers the question of “what”. This comprises of the central 30° of the visual cone. Focal vision is responsible for …

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