Spatial disorientation in naval aviation mishaps: a review of class A incidents from 1980 through 1989.Aviat Space Environ Med. 1992 Feb; 63(2):128-31.AS
Spatial Disorientation (SD) has long been a major aeromedical factor contributing to naval aviation mishaps. In the past, it has been viewed as a generalized phenomenon, described by its vertigo-related symptoms. More recently, however, three distinct types of SD have been identified, each based on whether the aviator recognizes and responds to its onset. In the current retrospective study, Flight Surgeon and Mishap Investigation Report narratives from 33 Class A mishaps occurring from 1980 through 1989 were reviewed. SD was determined to have been a causal factor in all cases. The mishaps were examined to categorize SD into the three descriptive types and to describe the relationship (if any) between SD and various mission-related factors. Aircraft type, phase of flight, time of day, pilot experience, and flight topography were all considered. The results indicate that Types I and II SD could be identified as causal factors in all 33 Class A mishaps. Further, most Type I SD was experienced primarily by helicopter pilots at night while most Type II SD incidents affected jet pilots during day missions.