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Topic Paper # 2 - Essay Example

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Sense organs of a human being have evolved to provide critical sensory information to the brain, thereby utlise instinctual properties of humans which were necesary for basic survival in the real world. The evolution dates back to prehistoric age and many such instincts have today become liabilities in this new world…
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Download file to see previous pages Illusion arises from a feeling of 'something is right' when it isn't, the most common one being the Mirage of the desert. The brain's orientation, which depends on visual system and vestibular system (middle ear), is given a wrong input of the existing situation by these organs. This results in instinctual corrective action, which, if not based on facts but feelings, can lead to extremely dangerous situation in the air. Some sensory receptors throughout the body like pressure, stress, vibrations, position sense, temperature and discomfort also provide inputs to the brain prompting instinctual corrective action from the pilot. If this happens closer to the ground with inadequate understanding of the situation on the part of the pilot and inadequate time to switch over to aircraft instruments, the result could be a disaster affecting hundreds of lives direcly and thousands indirectly (Brock, 1998). Some important sensory illusions affecting the man in the air are discussed in succeeding paragraphs.
Spatial disorientation can be of two kinds: False perception, where pilot does not realise the gravity of the situation and Conflicting perception in which the pilot feels a conflict between his feelings and the information provided by aircraft instruments. Former is the more critical one to understand and important to take precautions against.
This is inaccurate feeling or per...
The visual system is by far most critical, and helps in determining speed and direction of flight with reference to some stationary input, like cloud or ground. These provide critical information to orient oneself on ground and also in the air. Even birds cannot fly without visual references, like, say in clouds or fog. Only bats have a developed auditory echo-location system (like Radar) so as to fly without problems at night (Antunano). Hence, it is normal for us humans to have difficulty in poor visibility conditions like in clouds o fog. Some important visual illusions affecting flight are being discussed below:
Relative Motion Illusion. This happens when, for example, when the adjoining train moves, it gives us a false feeling of movement of our own train. Similar illusion in aircraft, for example in formation flying, can cause dangerous response from the pilot leading to mid-air collision. This is not an unfamiliar experience in military flying.
Autokinetic Illusion. On a dark featureless night, when the pilot stares towards a stationary light like a star or other aircraft light, it appears to be moving after some time giving a false impression of it to be on a collision course with own aircraft. This again might prompt an unwarranted response from the pilot transfixed on to some harmless feature (Antunano and Mohler, 1992). To avoid this situation, pilots are trained to carry out random scanning and avoid visual fixation (Brock, 1998).
Illusion due to Runway Width, Slope etc. Illusions due to sloping runways or different width/length than standard lead to a pilot assuming wrongly about his visual glide path, flare height and attempting to correct it closer to ground may lead him to entering a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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