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At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, a study subject is wired for a spin in the Dynamic Environment Simulator, a centrifuge that excels in inducing spatial disorientation. (DEPT OF DEFENSE)

The Disorient Express

Despite the best training and technology, why do pilots still die from not knowing which end is up?

The Inversion Illusion  A somatogravic illusion in which, after a sustained climb in a high-performance aircraft, the pilot levels the aircraft, creating a lighter “seat bottom” sensation while the acceleration maintains the seat-back pressure. The sensation is that of the aircraft continuing to increase in pitch. Soon the pilot perceives the aircraft is inverted.

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