Spacial Distortion

2016-01 gajsc logo headrer

General Aviation Joint Steering Committee

Loss of Control Working Group 1

Spatial Disorientation

Outreach Guidance Document

2015/12/21-080 (I) PP

This outreach guidance is provided to all FAA and aviation industry groups that are participating in outreach efforts sponsored by the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC). It is important that all outreach on a given topic is coordinated and is free of conflicts. Therefore, all outreach products should be in alignment with the outline and concepts listed below for this topic.

Outreach Month: April 2016

Topic: Spatial Disorientation (SE 34 Output 3-2)

The FAA and industry will conduct a public education campaign emphasizing the dangers of spatial disorientation and optical illusions.


NTSB accident data suggest that spatial disorientation may be a precursor to many general aviation accidents€“ particularly in night or limited visibility weather conditions.

Instrument and VFR pilots are subject to spatial disorientation and optical illusions that may cause loss of aircraft control.

Teaching Points:

  • Discuss the physiology and limitations of human sight and balance mechanisms
  • Offer responses to typical disorientation and illusion events.
  • Discuss best practices for preventing Spatial Disorientation.
  • Discuss local disorientation accidents and/or incidents.
  • Practical demonstrations of vertigo can be included in the program if a Barany Chair or other vertigo-inducing device is available.

Note: This outreach consists of a PowerPoint Show with 2 embedded videos produced by the Civil Aeromedical Institute. The first video deals with human physiology & spatial orientation. The second addresses common visual illusions. Both presentations offer suggestions for managing disorientation. Each video runs for approximately 15 minutes. You may screen one or both videos depending on your program requirements. Links to the videos appear below. From those locations you can either run the video on line or download it for use in a seminar.