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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Dec > Dec 7

Pilots' Out-Of-Body Experiences

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2007 18:31:16 +0000
Archived: Fri, 07 Dec 2007 23:41:01 -0500
Subject: Pilots' Out-Of-Body Experiences

[I think the final paragraph of this article is particularly
superfluous! - Joe]

Sourc: The Daily Mail  London, UK



Science & Tech Section

Pilots' 'out-of-body experiences' responsible for more than a
quarter of fatal air crashes


Some pilots will suffer the illusion that they are sitting on
the wing of their aircraft watching themselves in the cockpit,
according to an extraordinary official report released in

Every pilot will at some stage lose all sense of direction,
height and speed, drawing attention to spatial disorientation
(SD) - one of the most common factors in plane crashes,
according to a report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Aviation medicine specialist Dr David Newman said 90 to 100 per
cent of pilots experienced SD, which have been linked to between
15 and 26 per cent of fatal crashes worldwide.

Dr Newman drew attention to the illusion suffered by some pilots
who gained the impression of sitting on the wing looking at
themselves flying the aircraft, but there were other dangerous
misconceptions including a feeling that the plane was falling
when it was merely slowing down.

Another effect of SD was a false sensation of the aircraft
rolling and another illusion suggesting the plane was flying
straight ahead when it was actually turning.

Drawing attention to the "sitting on the wing" illusion, Dr
Newman added: "The knife-edge illusion gives the pilot a
sensation that the aircraft is precariously positioned in space
and extremely sensitive to control inputs."

But he also referred to what he called the "giant hand
illusion," which gives the pilot the sensation that the aircraft
is "intolerable of control inputs and seemingly immovable in the
air, as if held aloft by a giant handall[sic]."

The illusions, he said, often occurred when pilots were not busy
while flying the plane.

"While seemingly bizarre, these illusions are generally
associated with high altitude flight where the pilot has a
relatively low level workload."

"Under such 'fish bowl' conditions, the brain can wander and
generate these strange illusions."

Dr Newman's report said pilots should be aware they will
experience SD sooner or later.

"If a pilot flies long enough as a career or even a hobby there
is almost no chance that he or she will escape experiencing at
least one episode of SD."

"Looked at another way, pilots can be considered to be in one of
two groups: those who have been disorientated and those who will

The specialist said he issued the warning so that pilots could
take measures to reduce the impact of SD by flying when fit.

They should not fly under the influence of alcohol or
medications, which increase awareness of spatial disorientation

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