Back to Basics - Series 3, Lesson 4

Sensory illusions and tips for staying safe

Who would have thought that visual night flying involves so many factors? This series continues this issue, looking at some sensory illusions and learning some piloting techniques to keep you safe.

Runway slope

Last issue we closed after seeing how very narrow or very wide runways can interfere with a pilot’s perspective during critical phases of flight but so can its slope. Figure 1 demonstrates how a runway that is sloping upwards creates a change in perspective that the aircraft is higher than it really is, prompting the pilot to again fly under the correct glide slope to the runway.

Fig 1: Rising runways can result in undershooting.

Conversely, a runway that is sloping downhill may cause a pilot to fly well above the correct glide slope and cause an overshoot (Figure 2). Runway slope is more difficult to experience in many flight simulators as some always flatten the airfields.

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