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Flightradar 24

I caught this just as two of them handed over. It caught my attention as the second aircraft was reversing all the way from Waddington to Salisbury plain on ADS-B! Must be monitoring an exercise.
That is what I thought, though according to the Salisbury Plain Newsletter there is little training going on at the moment.
I too saw the track from Waddington, one turn on the way before the circles commenced.
 
You’d have thought so! However, there’s a phenomenon known as “The Leans”. which confuses Somatgravic Sensation (today’s first clever word, there will be more). It can also cause motion sickness and is essentially a disconnect in your brain between what your eyes are seeing and what you’re body (ears, amongst other bits, believe it or not) is telling you about which way is up. That’s why motion sickness is often relieved by seeing the horizon moving, your brain can connect the motion being felt with the motion being seen.

The (IIRC) Dutch Navy came up with a neat gadget to help guys in windowless compartments on ships; it’s essentially a bedside light with a horizontal slit cut in the shade that shines out a line of light onto the walls replicating the horizon. It’s mounted on a gyroscopically stabilised platform to keep it horizontal so you see a truly horizontal line on the wall, no matter what the wall is doing and what you are feeling.

In aircraft we have an Artificial Horizon, more commonly called an Attitude Indicator. This shows you where you are in relation to the horizon when you can’t see it (rather than the likelihood of the pilot telling you to feck off or give you a kiss) such as in cloud or at night over the sea, as in the AF crash.

Problem is, our bodies are astonishingly badly designed for flying as unlike birds and insects etc, we’ve not developed over millions of years of evolution to design out all our failings. One failing is the argument that goes on between your inner ear and other bits and your eyes reading the instruments, the instrument is usually right although to be fair, in the AF crash they were getting dud info but they could easily have used other instruments and cues such as the control positions to sort themselves out.

Balance in your inner ear is sorted by 3 “semi circular canals“ in each ear. They are set up in the 3 axes, up/down, left/right/, forward/back and use vertical and no movement as a reference or datum. They sense any deviation from that reference and tell your brain at which point, unless you’re pissed and/or flying an aircraft, your brain makes commands to the rest of your body to do something that stops you falling over.

The sensing is done by these canals. Each has little hairs called scilli (pronounced “silly”) connected to nerve endings lining them. There’s also a drop of fluid in each canal which stays at the lowest point in the semicircle courtesy of gravity. As your head moves, the fluid moves to the new lowest point and stimulates the scilli which send a signal to your brain. As there are 3 canals, aligned in the 3 axes, it covers off any movement in any direction. This is all part of your automatic nervous system so happens subconsciously, no effort required on your part, like breathing or dropping something hot. It can be overridden but takes real effort and conscious thought.

Normally the eyes see the movement and send that message to your brain which says “epic, 2 bits of data and they match, hey, legs, do such and such or this twat is gonna face plant”.

The problem is if your eyes don’t send the matching signal, you’re brain goes “FFS, 2 bits of data and they don’t match, no idea really so I’ll just do nothing and you two can argue amongst yourselves”. If the eyes can’t see, you’re in cloud, you’re stuck with a small instrument rather than a humongous horizon and to make matters worse, after a while, you’re ears will lie to you and your brain really does throw a strop. Congratulations, you have The Leans.

Your ears lie because once the fluid has moved, if you keep your head still, whilst staring at an instrument for example, the fluid settles and your brain interprets this as a “new normal”, in other words it thinks the sensed position of the fluid is vertical and resets its reference. If you now move again it interprets this as a move from the vertical rather than a move from the actual position of your head.

You can kind of get the idea if you sit in a moving car with your eyes shut. Disclaimer: This is probably best done when not actually driving the car. On a straight road at constant speed, put your chin on your chest. Wait 30 seconds or so and flick your head upright. You may well interpret this as the car accelerating. Think about it. Your head has moved back as it would do if the car accelerated.

Another way to do it is sit in a swivel chair with your eyes shut and keep your head still. Get someone to spin the chair slowly but steadily. Your ears will detect the movement and your brain correctly interpret it but after a while, 30 seconds or so, the constant rotation will be interpreted as a steady state. If you then stop the rotation, your brain will interpret this as the start of a rotation in the opposite direction. I’ve seen people actually fall off chairs when I’ve demonstrated this.

It’s not just your ears that fool you, body position or more accurately, where you feel body position. This is the somatogravic bit. If you think about it, if you’re sat down, increased pressure on your back can be achieved by either accelerating the chair forward, as in a car or aircraft on the take off run, or by tilting the chair back. If your eyes tell you which is the case, it’s no hassle, if they don’t, your brain can’t work out which it is so coming full circle, a high nose attitude in an aircraft can be interpreted either correctly as a potentially dangerous nose up or incorrectly as a benign level acceleration.

Similarly, because aircraft turn by banking, dropping a wing, rather than “skidding“ round like a car an acceleration upwards is sensed because centrifugal force pushes your arse outwards from the turn and into the seat, as it would if you accelerated vertically upwards.

You are now double fecked because this too is reassessed by your brain as a “new normal” if you hold that unaccelerated position for a period of time. Hold a steady banked turn to the right for a while, such as in Holding Pattern where each turn on the racetrack pattern takes 1 minute, and when you return to wings level your brain interprets this as a turn to the left.

I think that’s enough for today but hopefully you can see that your body is a devious bastard, wholly unsuited to flying aeroplanes and why most normal people aren’t keen on flying on instruments as it requires serious effort.

I‘m off for a lie down before I fall down.
^Wot 'e sed^
 
Not really. Human performance and Limitations (HPL) came into all pilot syllabi in the early 90s after it was realised that people were killing themselves in preventable accidents. I have been teaching the various syllabi for 29 years; from bored, rich housewives Private Pilots Licence stuff through professional training and on to delivering to my peers in classrooms and simulators as well as writing material for courses and freelance work.

You pick stuff up along the way!

Most guys would have a working knowledge of it all, I just take it up a notch or two because to teach effectively you need an in depth background knowledge to understand what and why you are teaching rather than just being one page ahead of the students in the book.

Thank you anyway!
I've been teaching similar for a similar length of time. It's a prerequisite of the UK military rotary pilot course instrument flying phase, and is also a routine currency to have a refresher for qualified pilots.

Show me a pilot who has never suffered from the 'leans' and I'll show you a liar. My first time was at night, in a 3000ft hover over South Armagh and scared the living bejeezus out of me.

Fortunately I wasn't solo! :)
 

9.414

Old-Salt
That is what I thought, though according to the Salisbury Plain Newsletter there is little training going on at the moment.
I too saw the track from Waddington, one turn on the way before the circles commenced.
... And one of them is there again now, with a second one just leaving waddington heading south.
 

ZW Clanger

Old-Salt
What’s with all the Ryan Air flights following the same path?
BFBD855A-9C32-4E27-AACE-2688F0CAEB30.png
 
Show me a pilot who has never suffered from the 'leans' and I'll show you a liar. My first time was at night, in a 3000ft hover over South Armagh and scared the living bejeezus out of me.

Fortunately I wasn't solo! :)


My first and worst time was the day after I’d gained my Green IR - I probably thought I was the bees knees of instrument flying.

Lifted from Armagh city to return to Aldergrove, weather was shitty but Aldergrove was “get-inable” with my shiny new Instrument Rating. So I just pulled up into cloud! No planning, no “girding of loins”, nothing - what a prat!

Immediately got the leans, really badly. Kept working at it and about five minutes in my crewman - Zip P - said “you’re very quiet”. I told him what was going on and that sort of made it all go away. We saw the runway from about 300’.

Thank fück we were in a Lynx, Gazelle might have had a different ending...
 
My first and worst time was the day after I’d gained my Green IR - I probably thought I was the bees knees of instrument flying.

Lifted from Armagh city to return to Aldergrove, weather was shitty but Aldergrove was “get-inable” with my shiny new Instrument Rating. So I just pulled up into cloud! No planning, no “girding of loins”, nothing - what a prat!

Immediately got the leans, really badly. Kept working at it and about five minutes in my crewman - Zip P - said “you’re very quiet”. I told him what was going on and that sort of made it all go away. We saw the runway from about 300’.

Thank fück we were in a Lynx, Gazelle might have had a different ending...
Zip's a great bloke. I never got the leans in a Lynx, but I got them a several times in a Gazelle, lucky me eh? :)
 
My first and worst time was the day after I’d gained my Green IR - I probably thought I was the bees knees of instrument flying.

Lifted from Armagh city to return to Aldergrove, weather was shitty but Aldergrove was “get-inable” with my shiny new Instrument Rating. So I just pulled up into cloud! No planning, no “girding of loins”, nothing - what a prat!

Immediately got the leans, really badly. Kept working at it and about five minutes in my crewman - Zip P - said “you’re very quiet”. I told him what was going on and that sort of made it all go away. We saw the runway from about 300’.

Thank fück we were in a Lynx, Gazelle might have had a different ending...

Pressonitis.

Been there.

One of the ones to survive. Many haven’t.
 

Oops

War Hero
Re.
'Leans'
Do you feel it 'coming on' or do you become aware of it once something happens that doesn't correlate to what is expected?
(Hope that makes sense)
 
Re.
'Leans'
Do you feel it 'coming on' or do you become aware of it once something happens that doesn't correlate to what is expected?
(Hope that makes sense)
Awareness is usually something that comes after the onset, initially everything feels fine. Then it doesn't. It manifested itself in me through a feeling of queasiness and unease.
 
It's often brought on by flying out of balance (not keeping the ball in the middle), such as the way students fly 90% of the time :rolleyes:
 

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