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When the weather is foggy on approach, a pilot may get the impression that..
  • A
    the airfield is further away than it actually is.
  • B
    his/her eyes are focusing on infinity.
  • C
    his/her visual field is shrinking (i.e. tunnel vision).
  • D
    the aircraft’s altitude is lower than it actually is.

Atmospheric haze, fog or rain can create an illusion of being at a greater distance and height from the runway. As a result, the pilot has a tendency to be low on the approach. Conversely, extremely clear air (clear bright conditions of a high attitude airport) can give the pilot the illusion of being closer than he or she actually is, resulting in a high approach that may result in an overshoot or go around. The diffusion of light due to water particles on the windshield can adversely affect depth perception. The lights and terrain features normally used to gauge height during landing become less effective for the pilot.

Note: Flying into shallow fog can create an illusion of pitching up. Pilots who do not recognize this illusion often steepen the approach abruptly.

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