Friday, June 27, 2008

Instrument Flying Fundamental Skills

During attitude instrument training, you must develop three fundamental skills involved in all instrument flight maneuvers: instrument cross-check, instrument interpretation, and aircraft control. Although you learn these skills separately and in deliberate sequence, a measure of your proficiency in precision flying will be your ability to integrate these skills into unified, smooth, positive control responses to maintain any prescribed flight path.
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
The first fundamental skill is cross-checking (also called "scanning" or "instrument coverage"). Cross-checking is the continuous and logical observation of instruments for attitude and performance information. In attitude instrument flying, the pilot maintains an attitude by reference to instruments that will produce the desired result in performance. Due to human error, instrument error, and airplane performance differences in various atmospheric and loading conditions, it is impossible to establish an attitude and have performance remain constant for a long period of time. These variables make it necessary for the pilot to constantly check the instruments and make appropriate changes in airplane attitude.
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Medical Factors

A "go/no-go" decision is made before each flight. The pilot should not only preflight check the aircraft, but also his/ herself before every flight. As a pilot you should ask yourself, "Could I pass my medical examination right now?" If you cannot answer with an absolute "yes," then you should not fly. This is especially true for pilots embarking on flights in IMC. Instrument flying can be much more demanding than flying in VMC, and peak performance is critical for the safety of flight.

Pilot performance can be seriously degraded by both prescribed and over-the-counter medications, as well as by the medical conditions for which they are taken. Many medications, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, strong pain relievers, and cough-suppressants, have primary effects that may impair judgment, memory, alertness, coordination, vision, and the ability to make calculations. Others, such as antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants, and agents to control diarrhea and motion sickness, have side effects that may impair the same critical functions. Any medication that depresses the nervous system, such as a sedative, tranquilizer, or antihistamine, can make a pilot much more susceptible to hypoxia.

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) prohibits pilots from performing crewmember duties while using any medication that affects the faculties in any way contrary to safety. The safest rule is not to fly as a crewmember while taking any medication, unless approved to do so by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If there is any doubt regarding the effects of any medication, consult an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) before flying.

14 CFR part 91 prohibits pilots from performing crewmember duties within 8 hours after drinking any alcoholic beverage or while under the influence. Extensive research has provided a number of facts about the hazards of alcohol consumption and flying. As little as one ounce of liquor, one bottle of beer, or four ounces of wine can impair flying skills and render a pilot much more susceptible to disorientation and hypoxia. Even after the body completely metabolizes a moderate amount of alcohol, a pilot can still be impaired for many hours. There is simply no way of increasing the metabolism of alcohol or alleviating a hangover.

Fatigue is one of the most treacherous hazards to flight safety, as it may not be apparent to a pilot until serious errors are made. Fatigue can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). A normal occurrence of everyday living, acute fatigue is the tiredness felt after long periods of physical and mental strain, including strenuous muscular effort, immobility, heavy mental workload, strong emotional pressure, monotony, and lack of sleep. Acute fatigue is prevented by adequate rest, regular exercise, and proper nutrition. Chronic fatigue occurs when there is not enough time for a full recovery from repeated episodes of acute fatigue. Recovery from chronic fatigue requires a prolonged period of rest. In either case, unless adequate precautions are taken, personal performance could be impaired and adversely affect pilot judgment and decision making.

IMSAFE Checklist
The following checklist, IMSAFE, is intended for a pilot's personal preflight use. A quick check of the items on this list can help the pilot make a good self-evaluation prior to any flight. If the answer to any of the checklist questions is yes, then the pilot should consider not flying.

Illness—Do I have any symptoms?
Medication—Have I been taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs?
Stress—Am I under psychological pressure from the job? Do I have money, health, or family problems?
Alcohol—Have I been drinking within 8 hours? Within 24 hours?
Fatigue—Am I tired and not adequately rested?
Eating—Have I eaten enough of the proper foods to keep adequately nourished during the entire flight?

Hypoxia: A state of oxygen deficiency in the body sufficient to impair functions of the brain and other organs.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Physiological and Psychological Factors

Several factors can affect the pilot, either physiologically or psychologically, to the point where the safety of a flight can be severely compromised. These factors are stress, medical, alcohol, and fatigue. Any of these factors, individually or in combination, can significantly degrade the pilot's decision making or flying abilities, both in the flight planning phase and in flight.

Stress is the body's response to demands placed upon it. These demands can be either pleasant or unpleasant in nature. The causes of stress for a pilot can range from unexpected weather or mechanical problems while in flight, to personal issues totally unrelated to flying. Stress is an inevitable and necessary part of life; it adds motivation to life and heightens a pilot's response to meet any challenge. The effects of stress are cumulative, and there is a limit to a pilot's adaptive nature. This limit, the stress tolerance level, is based on a pilot's ability to cope with the situation.

At first, some amount of stress can be desirable and can actually improve performance. Higher stress levels, particularly over long periods of time, can adversely affect performance. Performance will generally increase with the onset of stress, but will peak and then begin to fall off rapidly as stress levels exceed the ability to cope.

At the lower stress levels, boredom is followed by optimal performance at the moderate stress levels, then followed ultimately by overload and panic at the highest stress levels. At this point, a pilot's performance begins to decline and judgment deteriorates. Complex or unfamiliar tasks require higher levels of performance than simple or over learned tasks. Complex or unfamiliar tasks are also more subject to the adverse effects of increasing stress than simple or familiar tasks.

The indicators of excessive stress often show as three types of symptoms: (1) emotional, (2) physical, and (3) behavioral. These symptoms depend upon whether aggression is focused inward or outward. Individuals who typically turn their aggressive feelings inward often demonstrate the emotional symptoms of depression, preoccupation, sadness, and withdrawal. Individuals who typically take out their frustration on other people or objects exhibit few physical symptoms. Emotional symptoms may surface as overcompensation, denial, suspicion, paranoia, agitation, restlessness, defensiveness, excess sensitivity to criticism, argumentative-ness, arrogance, and hostility. Pilots need to learn to recognize the symptoms of stress as they begin to occur within themselves.

Stress: The body's response to demands placed upon it.

There are many techniques available that can help reduce stress in life or help people cope with it better. Not all of the following ideas may be the solution, but some of them should be effective.

1.        Become knowledgeable about stress.
2.        Take a realistic self-assessment.
3.        Take a systematic approach to problem solving.
4.        Develop a lifestyle that will buffer against the effects of stress.
5.        Practice behavior management techniques.
6.        Establish and maintain a strong support network.

Good cockpit stress management begins with good life stress management. Many of the stress-coping techniques practiced for life stress management are not usually practical in flight. Rather, pilots must condition themselves to relax and think rationally when stress appears. The following checklist outlines some methods of cockpit stress management.

1.        Avoid situations that distract from flying the aircraft.
2.        Reduce workload to reduce stress levels. This will create a proper environment in which to make good decisions.
3.        If an emergency does occur, be calm. Think for a moment, weigh the alternatives, then act.
4.        Become thoroughly familiar with the aircraft, its operation, and emergency procedures. Also, maintain flight proficiency to build confidence.
5.        Know and respect personal limits.
6.        Do not allow small mistakes to be distractions during flight; rather, review and analyze them after landing.
7.        If flying adds stress, either stop flying or seek professional help to manage stress within acceptable limits.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vision Under Dim and Bright Illumination

Under conditions of dim illumination, aeronautical charts and aircraft instruments can become unreadable unless adequate cockpit lighting is available. In darkness, vision becomes more sensitive to light; this process is called dark adaptation. Although exposure to total darkness for at least 30 minutes is required for complete dark adaptation, a pilot can achieve a moderate degree of dark adaptation within 20 minutes under dim red cockpit lighting. Red light distorts colors, especially on aeronautical charts, and makes it very difficult for the eyes to focus on objects inside the aircraft. Pilots should use it only where optimum outside night vision capability is necessary. White cockpit lighting should be available when needed for map and instrument reading, especially under IMC conditions.

Dark adaptation is impaired by exposure to cabin pressure altitudes above 5,000 feet, carbon monoxide inhaled through smoking and from exhaust fumes, deficiency of Vitamin A in the diet, and by prolonged exposure to bright sunlight. Since any degree of dark adaptation is lost within a few seconds of viewing a bright light, pilots should close one eye when using a light to preserve some degree of night vision. During night flights in the vicinity of lightning, cockpit lights should be turned up to help prevent loss of night vision due to the bright flashes.

Dark adaptation: Physical and chemical adjustments of the eye that make vision possible in relative darkness.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How to Prevent Landing Errors Due to Visual Illusions

Pilots can take action to prevent these illusions and their potentially hazardous consequences if they:

1.        Anticipate the possibility of visual illusions during approaches to unfamiliar airports, particularly at night or in adverse weather conditions. Consult airport diagrams and the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) for information on runway slope, terrain, and lighting.
2.        Make frequent reference to the altimeter, especially during all approaches, day and night.
3.        If possible, conduct aerial visual inspection of unfamiliar airports before landing.
4.        Use Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI) or Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) systems for a visual reference, or an electronic glide slope, whenever they are available.
5.        Utilize the visual descent point (VDP) found on many non-precision instrument approach procedure charts.
6.        Recognize that the chances of being involved in an approach accident increase when some emergency or other activity distracts from usual procedures.
7.        Maintain optimum proficiency in landing procedures.

Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI): A system of lights arranged to provide visual descent guidance information during the approach to the runway. A pilot on the correct glide slope will see red lights over white lights.

Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI): Similar to the VASI but consisting of one row of lights in two or four-light systems. A pilot on the correct glide slope will see two white lights and two red lights.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Optical Illusions

Of the senses, vision is the most important for safe flight. However, various terrain features and atmospheric conditions can create optical illusions. These illusions are primarily associated with landing. Since pilots must transition from reliance on instruments to visual cues outside the cockpit for landing at the end of an instrument approach, it is imperative they are aware of the potential problems associated with these illusions, and take appropriate corrective action. The major illusions leading to landing errors are described below.

Runway Width Illusion
A narrower-than-usual runway can create an illusion the aircraft is at a higher altitude than it actually is, especially when runway length-to-width relationships are comparable. The pilot who does not recognize this illusion will fly a lower approach, with the risk of striking objects along the approach path or landing short. A wider-than-usual runway can have the opposite effect, with the risk of leveling out high and landing hard, or overshooting the runway.

Runway and Terrain Slopes Illusion
An up-sloping runway, up-sloping terrain, or both, can create an illusion the aircraft is at a higher altitude than it actually is. The pilot who does not recognize this illusion will fly a lower approach. Down-sloping runways and Down-sloping approach terrain can have the opposite effect.

Featureless Terrain Illusion
An absence of surrounding ground features, as in an over-water approach, over darkened areas, or terrain made featureless by snow, can create an illusion the aircraft is at a higher altitude than it actually is. This illusion, sometimes referred to as the "black hole approach," causes pilots to fly a lower approach than is desired.

Water Refraction
Rain on the windscreen can create an illusion of being at a higher altitude due to the horizon appearing lower than it is. This can result in the pilot flying a lower approach.

Practice Makes Proficient
Through training and awareness in developing absolute reliance on the instruments, pilots can reduce their susceptibility to disorienting illusions.

Optical illusion: (in aircraft flight)
A misleading visual image of features on the ground associated with landing, which causes a pilot to misread the spatial relationships between the aircraft and the runway.

Atmospheric haze can create an illusion of being at a greater distance from the runway. As a result, the pilot will have a tendency to be high on the approach. Conversely, extremely clear air can give the pilot the illusion of being closer than he/she actually is, resulting in a long, low approach. The diffusion of light due to water particles can adversely affect depth perception. The lights and terrain features normally used to gauge height during landing become less effective for the pilot.

Penetration of fog can create an illusion of pitching up. Pilots who do not recognize this illusion will often steeped the approach quite abruptly.

Ground Lighting Illusions
Lights along a straight path, such as a road, and even lights on moving trains can be mistaken for runway and approach lights. Bright runway and approach lighting systems, especially where few lights illuminate the surrounding terrain, may create the illusion of less distance to the runway. The pilot who does not recognize this illusion will often fly a higher approach.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Coping with Spatial Disorientation

Pilots can take action to prevent illusions and their potentially disastrous consequences if they:

1.        Understand the causes of these illusions and remain constantly alert for them.
2.        Always obtain preflight weather briefings.
3.        Do not continue flight into adverse weather conditions or into dusk or darkness unless proficient in the use of flight instruments.
4.        Ensure that when outside visual references are used, they are reliable, fixed points on the Earth's surface.
5.        Avoid sudden head movement, particularly during takeoffs, turns, and approaches to landing.
6.        Remember that illness, medication, alcohol, fatigue, sleep loss, and mild hypoxia is likely to increase susceptibility to spatial disorientation.
7.        Most importantly, become proficient in the use of flight instruments and rely upon them.

The sensations, which lead to illusions during instrument flight conditions, are normal perceptions experienced by pilots. These undesirable sensations cannot be completely prevented, but through training and awareness, pilots can ignore or suppress them by developing absolute reliance on the flight instruments. As pilots gain proficiency in instrument flying, they become less susceptible to these illusions and their effects.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Demonstrating Spatial Disorientation

There are a number of controlled aircraft maneuvers a pilot can perform to experiment with spatial disorientation. While each maneuver will normally create a specific illusion, any false sensation is an effective demonstration of disorientation. Thus, even if there is no sensation during any of these maneuvers, the absence of sensation is still an effective demonstration in that it shows the inability to detect bank or roll. There are several objectives in demonstrating these various maneuvers.

1.        They teach pilots to understand the susceptibility of the human system to spatial disorientation.
2.        They demonstrate that judgments of aircraft attitude based on bodily sensations are frequently false.
3.        They can help to lessen the occurrence and degree of disorientation through a better understanding of the relationship between aircraft motion, head movements, and resulting disorientation.
4.        They can help to instill a greater confidence in relying on flight instruments for assessing true aircraft attitude.

A pilot should not attempt any of these maneuvers at low altitudes, or in the absence of an instructor pilot or an appropriate safety pilot.

Climbing While Accelerating
With the pilot's eyes closed, the instructor pilot maintains approach airspeed in a straight-and-level attitude for several seconds, and then accelerates while maintaining straight-and-level attitude. The usual illusion during this maneuver, without visual references, will be that the aircraft is climbing.

Climbing While Turning
With the pilot's eyes still closed and the aircraft in a straight-and-level attitude, the instructor pilot now executes, with a relatively slow entry, a well-coordinated turn of about 1.5 positive G (approximately 50° bank) for 90°. While in the turn, without outside visual references and under the effect of the slight positive G, the usual illusion produced is that of a climb. Upon sensing the climb, the pilot should immediately open the eyes and see that a slowly established, coordinated turn produces the same feeling as a climb.

Diving While Turning
This sensation can be created by repeating the previous procedure, with the exception that the pilot's eyes should be kept closed until recovery from the turn is approximately one-half completed. With the eyes closed, the usual illusion will be that the aircraft is diving.

Tilting to Right or Left
While in a straight-and-level attitude, with the pilot's eyes closed, the instructor pilot executes a moderate or slight skid to the left with wings level. The usual illusion is that the body is being tilted to the right.

Reversal of Motion
This illusion can be demonstrated in any of the three planes of motion. While straight-and-level, with the pilot's eyes closed, the instructor pilot smoothly and positively rolls the aircraft to approximately a 45°-bank attitude while maintaining heading and pitch attitude. The usual illusion is a strong sense of rotation in the opposite direction. After this illusion is noted, the pilot should open the eyes and observe that the aircraft is in a banked attitude.

Diving or Rolling Beyond the Vertical Plane
This maneuver may produce extreme disorientation. While in straight-and-level flight, the pilot should sit normally, either with eyes closed or gaze lowered to the floor. The instructor pilot starts a positive, coordinated roll toward a 30° or 40° angle of bank. As this is in progress, the pilot should tilt the head forward, look to the right or left, then immediately return the head to an upright position. The instructor pilot should time the maneuver so the roll is stopped just as the pilot returns his/her head upright. An intense disorientation is usually produced by this maneuver, with the pilot experiencing the sensation of falling downwards into the direction of the roll.

In the descriptions of these maneuvers, the instructor pilot is doing the flying, but having the pilot do the flying can also make a very effective demonstration. The pilot should close his/her eyes and tilt the head to one side. The instructor pilot tells the pilot what control inputs to perform. The pilot then attempts to establish the correct attitude or control input with eyes still closed and head still tilted. While it is clear the pilot has no idea of the actual attitude, he/she will react to what the senses are saying. After a short time, the pilot will become disoriented and the instructor pilot then tells the pilot to look up and recover. The benefit of this exercise is the pilot actually experiences the disorientation while flying the aircraft.

Demonstrating Spatial Disorientation—Safety Check
These demonstrations should never be conducted at low altitudes, or without an instructor pilot or appropriate safety pilot onboard.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Illusions Leading to Spatial Disorientation

The sensory system responsible for most of the illusions leading to spatial disorientation is the vestibular system in the inner ear. The major illusions leading to spatial disorientation are covered below.

Inner Ear
The Leans
A condition called the leans can result when a banked attitude, to the left for example, may be entered too slowly to set in motion the fluid in the "roll" semicircular tubes. [Figure 1-2] An abrupt correction of this attitude can now set the fluid in motion, creating the illusion of a banked attitude to the right. The disoriented pilot may make the error of rolling the aircraft into the original left-banked attitude or, if level flight is maintained, will feel compelled to lean to the left until this illusion subsides.

Coriolis Illusion
The pilot has been in a turn long enough for the fluid in the ear canal to move at the same speed as the canal. A movement of the head in a different plane, such as looking at something in a different part of the cockpit, may set the fluid moving thereby creating the strong illusion of turning or accelerating on an entirely different axis. This is called Coriolis illusion. This action causes the pilot to think the aircraft is doing a maneuver that it is not. The disoriented pilot may maneuver the aircraft into a dangerous attitude in an attempt to correct the aircraft's perceived attitude.

For this reason, it is important that pilots develop an instrument cross-check or scan that involves minimal head movement. Take care when retrieving charts and other objects in the cockpit—if you drop something, retrieve it with minimal head movement and be alert for the Coriolis illusion.

Graveyard Spiral
As in other illusions, a pilot in a prolonged coordinated, constant-rate turn, will have the illusion of not turning. During the recovery to level flight, the pilot will experience the sensation of turning in the opposite direction. The disoriented pilot may return the aircraft to its original turn. Because an aircraft tends to lose altitude in turns unless the pilot compensates for the loss in lift, the pilot may notice a loss of altitude. The absence of any sensation of turning creates the illusion of being in a level descent. The pilot may pull back on the controls in an attempt to climb or stop the descent. This action tightens the spiral and increases the loss of altitude; hence, this illusion is referred to as a graveyard spiral. At some point, this could lead to a loss of control by the pilot.

Leans: An abrupt correction of a banked attitude, entered too slowly to stimulate the motion sensing system in the inner ear, can create the illusion of banking in the opposite direction.

Coriolis illusion: An abrupt head movement, while in a prolonged constant-rate turn that has ceased stimulating the motion sensing system, can create the illusion of rotation or movement in an entirely different axis.

Somatogravic Illusion
A rapid acceleration, such as experienced during takeoff, stimulates the otolith organs in the same way as tilting the head backwards. This action creates the somatogravic illusion of being in a nose-up attitude, especially in situations without good visual references. The disoriented pilot may push the aircraft into a nose-low or dive attitude. A rapid deceleration by quick reduction of the throttle(s) can have the opposite effect, with the disoriented pilot pulling the aircraft into a nose-up or stall attitude.

Inversion Illusion
An abrupt change from climb to straight-and-level flight can stimulate the otolith organs enough to create the illusion of tumbling backwards, or inversion illusion. The disoriented pilot may push the aircraft abruptly into a nose-low attitude, possibly intensifying this illusion.

Elevator Illusion
An abrupt upward vertical acceleration, as can occur in an updraft, can stimulate the otolith organs to create the illusion of being in a climb. This is called elevator illusion. The disoriented pilot may push the aircraft into a nose-low attitude. An abrupt downward vertical acceleration, usually in a downdraft, has the opposite effect, with the disoriented pilot pulling the aircraft into a nose-up attitude.

Two illusions that lead to spatial disorientation, the false horizon and autokinesis, are concerned with the visual system.

False Horizon
A sloping cloud formation, an obscured horizon, an aurora borealis, a dark scene spread with ground lights and stars, and certain geometric patterns of ground lights can provide inaccurate visual information, or false horizon, for aligning the aircraft correctly with the actual horizon. The disoriented pilot may place the aircraft in a dangerous attitude.

In the dark, a stationary light will appear to move about when stared at for many seconds. The disoriented pilot could lose control of the aircraft in attempting to align it with the false movements of this light, called autokinesis.

The postural system sends signals from the skin, joints, and muscles to the brain that are interpreted in relation to the Earth's gravitational pull. These signals determine posture. Inputs from each movement update the body's position to the brain on a constant basis. "Seat of the pants" flying is largely dependent upon these signals. Used in conjunction with visual and vestibular clues, these sensations can be fairly reliable. However, because of the forces acting upon the body in certain flight situations, many false sensations can occur due to acceleration forces overpowering gravity. [Figure 1-4] These situations include uncoordinated turns, climbing turns, and turbulence.

Graveyard spiral: The illusion of the cessation of a turn while actually still in a prolonged coordinated, constant-rate turn, which can lead a disoriented pilot to a loss of control of the aircraft.

Somatogravic illusion: The feeling of being in a nose-up or nose-down attitude, caused by a rapid acceleration or deceleration while in flight situations that lack visual reference.

Inversion illusion: The feeling that the aircraft is tumbling backwards, caused by an abrupt change from climb to straight-andlevel flight while in situations lacking visual reference.

Elevator illusion: The feeling of being in a climb or descent, caused by the kind of abrupt vertical accelerations that result from upor downdrafts.

False horizon: Inaccurate visual information for aligning the aircraft caused by various natural and geometric formations that disorient the pilot from the actual horizon.

Autokinesis: Nighttime visual illusion that a stationary light is moving, which becomes apparent after several seconds of staring at the light.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sensory Systems for Orientation: Eyes, Ears, and Nerves

During flight in visual meteorological conditions (VMC), the eyes are the major orientation source and usually provide accurate and reliable information. Visual cues usually prevail over false sensations from other sensory systems. When these visual cues are taken away, as they are in IMC, false sensations can cause the pilot to quickly become disoriented.

The only effective way to counter these false sensations is to recognize the problem, disregard the false sensations, and while relying totally on the flight instruments, use the eyes to determine the aircraft attitude. The pilot must have an understanding of the problem and the self-confidence to control the aircraft using only instrument indications.

The inner ear has two major parts concerned with orientation, the semicircular canals and the otolith organs. The semicircular canals detect angular acceleration of the body while the otolith organs detect linear acceleration and gravity. The semicircular canals consist of three tubes at right angles to each other, each located on one of the three axes: pitch, roll, or yaw. Each canal is filled with a fluid called endolymph fluid. In the center of the canal is the cupola, a gelatinous structure that rests upon sensory hairs located at the end of the vestibular nerves.

When the ear canal is moved in its plane, the relative motion of the fluid moves the cupola, which, in turn, stimulates the sensory hairs to provide the sensation of turning. This effect can be demonstrated by taking a glass filled with water and turning it slowly. The wall of the glass is moving, yet the water is not. If these sensory hairs were attached to the glass, they would be moving in relation to the water, which is still standing still.

The ear was designed to detect turns of a rather short duration. After a short period of time (approximately 20 seconds), the fluid accelerates due to friction between the fluid and the canal wall. Eventually, the fluid will move at the same speed as the ear canal. Since both are moving at the same speed, the sensory hairs detect no relative movement and the sensation of turning ceases. This can also be illustrated with the glass of water. Initially, the glass moved and the water did not. Yet, continually turning the glass would result in the water accelerating and matching the speed of the wall of the glass.

The pilot is now in a turn without any sensation of turning. When the pilot stops turning, the ear canal stops moving but the fluid does not. The motion of the fluid moves the cupola and therefore, the sensory hairs in the opposite direction. This creates the sensation of turning in the opposite direction even though the turn has stopped.

The otolith organs detect linear acceleration and gravity in a similar way. Instead of being filled with a fluid, a gelatinous membrane containing chalk-like crystals covers the sensory hairs. When the pilot tilts his/her head, the weight of these crystals causes this membrane to shift due to gravity and the sensory hairs detect this shift. The brain orients this new position to what it perceives as vertical. Acceleration and deceleration also cause the membrane to shift in a similar manner. Forward acceleration gives the illusion of the head tilting backward.

Nerves in the body's skin, muscles, and joints constantly send signals to the brain, which signals the body's relation to gravity. These signals tell the pilot his/her current position. Acceleration will be felt as the pilot is pushed back into the seat. Forces created in turns can lead to false sensations of the true direction of gravity, and may give the pilot a false sense of which way is up.

Uncoordinated turns, especially climbing turns, can cause misleading signals to be sent to the brain. Skids and slips give the sensation of banking or tilting. Turbulence can create motions that confuse the brain as well. Pilots need to be aware that fatigue or illness can exacerbate these sensations and ultimately lead to subtle incapacitation.

Vestibular: The central cavity of the bony labyrinth of the ear, or the parts of the membranous labyrinth that it contains.