Jarvis S, Harris D. Looking for an accident: glider pilots’ visual management and potentially dangerous final turns. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:597600.
Introduction: Accidents caused by spinning from low turns continue to kill glider pilots despite the introduction of specific exercises aimed at increasing pilot awareness and recognition of this issue. Method: In-cockpit video cameras were used to analyze flying accuracy and log the areas of visual interest of 36 qualified glider pilots performing final turns in a training glider. Results: Pilots were found to divide their attention between four areas of interest: the view directly ahead; the landing area (right); the airspeed indicator; and an area between the direct ahead view and the landing area. The mean fixation rate was 85 shifts per minute. Significant correlations were found between over-use of rudder and a lack of attention to the view ahead, as well as between the overall fixation rate and poorer coordination in the turn. Discussion: The results provide some evidence that a relationship exists between pilots’ visual management and making turns in a potentially dangerous manner. Pilots who monitor the view ahead for reasonable periods during the final turn while not allowing their scan to become over-busy are those who are most likely to prevent a potential spin.
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