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Discussion: "Spatial Disorioentation"

1. Wed 13 Jan Joseph Goodfellow - Galway
Hi, I am a retired mechanical Engineer based in Galway, Ireland. Held a PPL since late seventies. With the advent of TAA "glass cockpit" aircraft, is pilot spatial disorientation still the insidious killer? Around fifteen years ago, I designed and reduced to practice a device that could prevent a pilot becoming disorientated in IMC, or help him/her regain control during disorientation. I didn't pursue the development of the device as I presumed the avionics technology advancement at the time would resolve the problem. What I am really asking is, has SD ever been successfully solved? Thanks, joe
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2. Thu 14 Jan Edward Hawkins - Humberside
To the best of my knowledge, the advice for avoiding and recovering from spatial disorientation remains the same as it always been: “Trust the instruments”
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3. Thu 14 Jan Edward Hawkins - Humberside
I believe that recovery from unusual attitudes in IMC conditions should be moved from the IMC rating to the PPL course.
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4. Thu 14 Jan Joseph Goodfellow - Galway
Yes with training, practice, and total trust in the instruments (when working) to avoid SD has been the case since the onset of aviation. What I am asking is; with the advent of modern technology (glass cockpit etc.), has spatial disorientation become a thing of the past and a rare occurrence? Put another way, could a pilot that inadvertently or otherwise strays into IMC, or one that loses his/her standard AH, maintain control of the aircraft? As I alluded to in my original post, I haven't kept abreast of modern technology.
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5. Fri 15 Jan Andy Hawkins - Swindon, flying from EGBP
As I understand it (as a lapsed IR(R) holder) spatial disorientation isn't caused by anything the instruments are telling you, it's caused by your inner ear giving you messages that don't tally with what's really happening.

As a result, your body is telling you (say) that you're banking to the left, when in fact you're flying straight and level. You compensate by banking right, which means you're no longer flying straight and level any more.

No amount of instrumentation will help with that. Automation might, but you need to be able to cope without any automation in case that fails.

Andy
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6. Fri 15 Jan Joseph Goodfellow - Galway
Hi Andrew, With all due respect, I understand SD causes and effects quite well. In fact I had to in order to develop the device that can prevent it. In essence, the only reason I am aware of that a pilot becomes disorientated is due to the loss of visual cues to the brain. I have never heard of a pilot becoming disorientated under normal flight with a clear horizon. Maybe an exception would be staring at terra firma during a spin!

My questions were asking "has SD been essentially solved with modern day "glass cockpits", or is it still a major cause of loss of control? Put more simply, my device allows a pilot in IMC to see the horizon thus preventing SD. The device has no relationship to the aircraft systems or the pilot's ability. Considering the present technically advanced aircraft art (glass cockpits) , would my device be more beneficial in preventing SD?

joe
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7. Fri 15 Jan Joseph Goodfellow - Galway
I did a bit more research. It seems there are many devises such as modern autopilots that can prevent pilot SD. I now think my original question should have been "is there a device available that prevents SD that is affordable to all aviators?" I suspect the answer is no as many of the "state of the art" autopilots etc. cost many thousands of pounds. My devise will allow a pilot to see the horizon and only cost around £200.
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8. Sat 16 Jan Joseph Goodfellow - Galway
Hi Andrew, are there any other discussions going on in this forum? I not familiar with forums and maybe it's me that doesn't know how to navigate around it?
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9. Mon 18 Jan Andy Hawkins - Swindon, flying from EGBP
To be honest, this place has been almost dead for a few years now.

There are other pilot forums that are more active, but I'm not sure if it's appropriate to advertise them here.

Andy
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10. Mon 18 Jan Joseph Goodfellow - Galway
Thanks Andrew, it does seem a bit lonely here!
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Spatial Disorioentation

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