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Istanbuler83
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Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:25 pm

Dear fella A.net users,

After reading so many crash reports on the internet and watching the famous series "air crash investigation" I realized that "spatial disorientation" is given as the main reason why many airliners crashed. Here is the Wikipedia description of the phenomina:

"Spatial disorientation, spatial unawareness is the inability of a person to correctly determine his/her body position in space. This phenomenon refers especially to aircraft pilots and underwater divers,[1] but also can be induced in normal conditions—chemically or physically (e.g., by blindfolding). In aviation, the term means the inability to correctly interpret aircraft attitude, altitude or airspeed, in relation to the ground or point of reference, especially after a reference point (e.g., the horizon) has been lost. Spatial disorientation is a condition in which an aircraft pilot's perception of direction does not agree with reality. While it can be brought on by disturbances or disease within the vestibular system, it is more typically a temporary condition resulting from flight into poor weather conditions with low or no visibility. Under these conditions the pilot may be deprived of an external visual horizon, which is critical to maintaining a correct sense of up and down while flying."

Here is a brief list of the crashes caused by "spatial disorientation" (you may add some others):

*2016 Russian Defence Ministry Tupolev Tu-154 crashed in Sochi
*Ethiopian Airlines Flight 409 crashed in Beirut
*Adam Air Flight 574 crashed into the Makassar Strait near Polewali in Sulawesi
*Gulf Air Flight 072 crashed into Persian Gulf, Bahrain
*Flash Airlines Flight 604 crashed into the Red Sea

I would appreciate your feedback and thoughts.

Cheers!!
Istanbuler83
 
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zeke
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:35 pm

Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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cougar15
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:49 pm

Korean 8509, just to add one, but I see Zeke´s already come up with something much more constructive.....
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JordanTranter
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:52 pm

On my ATPL training course, we are taught that around 73% of accidents are caused by human error, with a large amount of those being CFIT as a result of spatial disorientation.
 
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OA940
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:08 pm

Like Jordan and zeke have already pointed out, spatial disorientation is the cause of the majority of plane crashes.
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akelley728
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:15 pm

One of the most famous where spatial disorientation is the probable cause is the crash of John F Kennedy Jr. on July 16, 1999. I remember that like it was yesterday.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._K ... lane_crash
 
Flightsimboy
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:16 pm

Wasn't the recent FlyDubai crash caused by this too.
 
LAXdude1023
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:52 pm

This is the same thing as "subtle incapacitation" yes?
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frmrCapCadet
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 4:45 pm

Situation Awareness is the more general term, and includes where you are, what is around you, how fast you and other are going. In aviation it includes the proper understanding of what your instruments or ATCs are telling you.
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zeke
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:01 pm

LAXdude1023 wrote:
This is the same thing as "subtle incapacitation" yes?


Not really spatial disorientation is when your body is telling your brain one thing and the instruments something different. You body might be saying your climbing when you are accelerating downhill.

Subtle incapacitation is for example when tired a pilot has an uncontrolled micro sleep which may only last 10 seconds and no one is aware it happened. It can manifest itself in many ways, so on takeoff and landing when the PF is quiet the PM will challenge them to test for subtle incapacitation.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
ninspeed
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:39 pm

Do the instruments need to be correct for it to be called spatial disorientation.... could we say AF447?
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:39 pm

Buddy Holly's crash was also SD.
 
klm617
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:59 pm

the truth does matter, guys. too bad it's often quite subjective. the truth is beyond the mere facts and figures. it's beyond good and bad, right and wrong...
 
26point2
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:05 pm

The most common GA accident has, historically, been a result of Spacial Disorientation. Usually a result from flying into cloud or dark night without reference to a horizon (JFK Jr crash mentioned above).
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:46 pm

Also, this Eastern mid-air caused by the handling pilot’s misjudgment of passing traffic’s visual position. I saw the Connie come out of clouds as a young scout at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Later, I flew with that pilot’s brother, also at EAL.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1965_Carmel_mid-air_collision

GF
 
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Aesma
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:08 pm

No mention of AF447 yet ?
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zeke
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:28 pm

ninspeed wrote:
Do the instruments need to be correct for it to be called spatial disorientation.... could we say AF447?


The instruments were giving the correct information just the airspeed was lost for a little bit. Even the airspeed recovered within around 30 seconds of being unreliable.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
Okie
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:05 pm

zeke wrote:
The instruments were giving the correct information just the airspeed was lost for a little bit. Even the airspeed recovered within around 30 seconds of being unreliable.


Spatial disorientation has been a problem with aviation from the get go.

Even with all the instruments required for flight into darknes, cloud or any other issue that causes disorientaion the next step is to project a scene simular to a simulator onto the windscreen requardless of the conditions outside the aircraft.
We have the computing power and GPS now to compliment the existing instruments and project the actual situation to the windscreen like it was CAVOK conditions and daylight.

Maybe I should get ahold of a patent attorney. :idea:


Okie
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:22 pm

that's why pilots years ago in the biplane era would descend thru a cloud layer by entering a spin until they broke out. All well and good unless the ceiling is real low. They knew better than to try a normal descent wings level.
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:28 pm

in the early 70s I was flying a Be-18 at night, single pilot. One night I was flying along in the clouds and for a brief moment I saw 1 light on the ground thru a break, then I caught a glimpse of a star above me. Boom it hit me and for several seconds I felt like the plane was in a 90 deg bank. It was all I could do just concentrating on the instruments. It happened a decade later in a 727 but not really any after that.
 
CanadianNorth
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Re: Spatial disorientation: How many crashes caused by it?

Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:15 pm

CosmicCruiser wrote:
Boom it hit me and for several seconds I felt like the plane was in a 90 deg bank. It was all I could do just concentrating on the instruments.


I've never experienced it as a pilot but I have quietly felt it twice now sitting jump seat in airliners at night, and also once the black hole effect I believe they call it. All three occasions the pilots knew what they were doing and we were flying IFR anyway so it was not a problem, but the effect really does hit you out of nowhere and it can be pretty terrifying for a few seconds until you realize what's happening. I also found myself putting everything I had into focusing on the instruments to convince brain things were okay.
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