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Which of the following scenarios involves an example of sensory adaptation?
  • A
    Flying at constant altitude and wagging the wings in a periodic manner.
  • B
    Flying a curve with a constant turn rate that lasts for more than 30 seconds.
  • C
    Performing a looping manoeuvre, initiated at 200 km/h, with an overhead speed of 100 km/h.
  • D
    Flying a spin manoeuvre of 360° in VMC by day.

Refer to figure.


The somatogyral illusion is due to the inability of the semicircular canal receptors of the vestibular system to continuously perceive a sustained angular velocity. During the execution of a sustained coordinated turn, a sustained roll or a sustained rotation, the vestibular system will correctly perceive the rotational input only during the first few seconds of the maneuver. After approximately 15 to 30 seconds of constant angular acceleration, such as what occurs during a steady turn, the vestibular system stabilizes to the angular velocity and the pilot may have the illusion that rotation has ceased (sensory adaptation).
  • The leans/somatogyral illusion occur when an abrupt recovery or a rapid correction is made to a bank. If you make such a recovery, your semicircular canals sense a roll in the opposite direction. This may cause you to reenter the original attitude. When you return the aircraft to a wings-level condition, you will tend to lean in the direction of the incorrect bank until the semicircular canal fluids return to normal. Maintaining a level attitude for a minute or two genrally will stop the leans.
Note: Sensory adaptation is a reduction in sensitivity to a stimulus after constant exposure to it.

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