Both anecdotal reports from pilots and theories of visual cues would predict lower approaches to narrow or long runways than to wide or short runways. Practice with a particular width of runway would also be predicted to increase subsequent approach angles flown to wider runways, and decrease approach angles to narrower runways. Two experiments with instrument-rated pilots made quantitative tests of these predictions. In Experiment I, three pilots flew simulated approaches and landings in a fixed base simulator with a computer-generated image visual display. Practice approaches were flown with an 8,000-ft-long runway that was either 75, 150 or 300 ft wide; test approaches were to runways with widths of 75, 100, 150, 200 and 300-ft. In Experiment II, 40 pilots controlled the slant of a moving model runway during simulated night visual approaches. Five different models simulated runways from 100 to 300 ft wide and 3,000 to 9,000 ft long. As predicted, training on a wide runway in Experiment I lowered approach angle in approaches to narrower runways; a narrow practice runway also raised approach angles to wider runways. The magnitude of these practice effects increased as distance from runway threshold decreased. There was also a general tendency for approach angles to decrease as runway width decreased. The latter effect was corroborated in Experiment II; in addition, generated approach angles decreased with increasing runway length. Giving half the pilots information about runway size prior to each approach had no effect on responses. These findings add to the quantitative evidence of danger in night visual approaches due to visual illusions and large variability in the visual perception of approach angle.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00964741
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FAA-AM-81-6
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 26 2003 12:00AM