Black Hole Illusion in Aviation – A Simulator Experiment to Examine Predominant Criteria in a Real-Life Environment

Teifer, Felix, Sikora, Ivan ORCID: and Paraskevas, Alexandros ORCID: (2023) Black Hole Illusion in Aviation – A Simulator Experiment to Examine Predominant Criteria in a Real-Life Environment. In: Human Factors in Transportation. AHFE Open Access.

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Continuous reports of aviation accidents related to Human Error and manual flying skills indicate the necessity for research in that area. Black Hole Illusion (BHI), an optical illusion that occurs during night-time visual approaches overhead featureless terrain and ultimately leads to fatal low flight paths, combines those factors. To increase flight safety in this phase of a flight, optical illusion theory and all factors that lead to this illusion were examined in an exploratory simulator study in real-life conditions with active airline pilots, representing a complete cockpit crew. The brightness levels of the approach lights as a conducive factor were examined for the first time in these conditions. A mixed-methods approach was used to quantitatively analyse the flown altitude errors in relation to the optimum flight path. Qualitative data was obtained via observations from the monitoring pilot. BHI and the optical illusion theory could be confirmed in the near approach sector before the runway. Both pilots seem to have not experienced BHI to the same extent. Findings can be used to recommend improvements in operational and pilot training policies.

Item Type: Book Section
Identifier: 10.54941/ahfe1003849
Keywords: Black Hole Illusion, Optical Illusion, Aviation Psychology, Visual Illusions, Featureless Terrain Illusion, Visual Perception
Subjects: Construction and engineering > Aerospace engineering
Depositing User: Lenka Shipton
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2023 11:21
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2023 11:22


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