A Good Pilot is Always Learning

Human Performance Visual Illusions Awareness

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Human Performance Visual Illusions Awareness Flight Operations Briefing Notes Visual illusions can affect the decision about when and how fast to descend from the MDA(H). The following paragraph provides an expanded overview of all the factors and conditions creating visual illusions to discuss how each factor or condition may affect the pilot perception of: • • • IV.1 • − • − • • The airport and runway environment; The terrain separation; and, The aircraft vertical or lateral deviation from the intended flight-path. Usually, more than one factor is involved in a given approach, compounding the individual effects. Airport Environment "Black hole" along the final approach flight path: In case of approach over water or with an unlighted area on the approach path, the absence of visible ground features reduces the crew ability to perceive the aircraft lateral and vertical position relative to the intended flight path. Uphill or downhill terrain before the runway threshold: An uphill slope in the approach zone or a drop-off of terrain at the approach end of the runway creates an illusion of being too high (i.e., impression of a steep glide path, as shown on Figure 1), thus: Possibly inducing a correction (increasing the rate of descent) that places the aircraft below the intended glide path; or, Preventing the flight crew from detecting a too shallow flight path. Actual Glide Path Perceived Glide Path Figure 1 Effect of Terrain Up-hill Slope on Flight Path Perception Page 4 of 15

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