Investigation of Visual Flight Cues for Timing the Initiation of the Landing Flare


While improper execution of the flare manoeuvre has been implicated in many landing incidents, very few human factors studies appear to have examined this problem. Our flight simulation study examined three different visual strategies that pilots could use to time the flare. On each trial, non-pilots, student pilots or private pilots were required to judge either: (i) their time-to-contact with the ground; or (ii) an idealised time to initiate the flare. Our data provided some support for the hypothesis that pilots initiate the flare when their perceived time-to-contact with the ground reaches a critical value. Pilot performance was generally superior to non-pilot performance. However, both pilots and non-pilots were found to demonstrate flare timing biases during impoverished visual conditions (i.e. reduced depth cues) - indicating that strategies based on perceptions of environmental distance and/or critical runway angle must also have played a role. Importantly, very accurate timing judgments were possible with richer visual displays (i.e. additional depth cues) that provided performance feedback. Thus, we conclude that entry-level flight simulators can be used for flare timing training if certain minimum visual display conditions have been met.��

Type: Research and Analysis Report
Author(s): Steve Palmisano, Simone Favelle, Gavin Prowse, Richard Wadwell, Ben Sachtler
Publication date: 26 June 2006
Related: Cabin Safety
Last update 07 April 2014
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