Technical Evaluation Report
ROYAL AIR FORCE CENTRE OF AVIATION MEDICINE BEDFORDSHIRE (UNITED KINGDOM)
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Spatial disorientation is characterized by the failure of the operator to sense correctly the position, motion or attitude of the vehicle, or of himherself, within a fixed co-ordinate system provided by the surface of the earth and the gravitational vertical. Spatial disorientation SD in flight, where the operator is the pilot and the vehicle is an aircraft, has been a problem since the early days of powered flight, and is a topic that has been discussed on numerous occasions within the NATO community. Yet, despite an increased understanding of the multifactorial aetiology of SD and improvements in the display of information to the aviator to facilitate the perception of veridical spatial orientation SO, accidents primary attributable to SD continue to occur. Indeed, as technologies of manufacturing, quality control and aircraft maintenance improve, the proportion of accidents syn. mishaps due to SD has increased. This would appear to be due, at least in part, to the introduction of new technologies, such as night vision goggles NVGs, that have allowed flight operations in environental conditions which previously were not possible.
- Stress Physiology