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Perceptional illusions are:
  • A
    usually not serious except in bad weather.
  • B
    abnormal and indicate weakness in one or more of the senses.
  • C
    normal and can be prevented by trusting instrument read-out.
  • D
    never caused by the brain’s ability to distort normal sense inputs.
Your mind can often play tricks on you, especially when confronted with perceptional (optical) illusions. Perceptual illusions work in a different way to confound your perception of reality. Optical illusions are numerous and include the misperception of aircraft height above touchdown caused by our inability to differentiate between the length of a runway and its slope.
Illusions rank among the most common factors cited as contributing to fatal aircraft accidents. Pilots can prevent being misled by the many causes of spatial disorientation. Preventive measures include:
  • Learning that sensory illusions (visual and vestibular) are common inflight occurrences that represent normal human responses to unusual sensor stimulations. Pilots should also learn to not trust their sensory perceptions under various circumstances that promote illusions, and to avoid sudden intuitive control manipulations based on these innacurate orientational perceptions.
  • Understanding the nature of various illusions and their contributing factors to be aware of inflight conditions that are likely to promote the occurrence of such illusions.
  • Learn to utilize and rely on orientational information available from non-sensory sources such as attitude instrument displays, radar, radar altimeter, navigation instrumentation, visual glideslope aids and other instruments.
  • Develop instrument cross-check skills and maintain these to a high level of proficiency.

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