Looking for an accident: Glider pilots' visual management and potentially dangerous final turns

Steve Jarvis, Don Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Accidents caused by spinning from low turns continue to kill glider pilots despite the introduction of specific exercises aimed at increasing pilot awareness and recognition of this issue. Method: Incockpit video cameras were used to analyze flying accuracy and log the areas of visual interest of 36 qualified glider pilots performing final turns in a training glider. Results: Pilots were found to divide their attention between four areas of interest: the view directly ahead; the landing area (right); the airspeed indicator; and an area between the direct ahead view and the landing area. The mean fixation rate was 85 shifts per minute. Significant correlations were found between over-use of rudder and a lack of attention to the view ahead, as well as between the overall fixation rate and poorer coordination in the turn. Discussion: The results provide some evidence that a relationship exists between pilots' visual management and making turns in a potentially dangerous manner. Pilots who monitor the view ahead for reasonable periods during the final turn while not allowing their scan to become over-busy are those who are most likely to prevent a potential spin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-600
Number of pages4
JournalAviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Accidents
  • Gliding
  • Visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Medicine(all)


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