September 1999 Issue

The Lost Horizon

The search for a cure for spatial disorientation ranges from instruments to instruction

Looking toward the horizon isnít just the province of sailors looking for land or of preteens daydreaming their way through history class.

Pilots use it on virtually every flight to take off and land, certainly, but also to keep the airplane upright. When a natural horizon isnít available, an artificial one inside the cockpit allows pilots on instruments to keep the airplane under control. Basic stuff, certainly, but loss of control due to disorientation remains a leading cause of accidents in aviation.

Anyone with a pulse was inundated by the coverage of the crash of John Kennedy Jr. off Marthaís Vineyard in July. Regardless of your opinion of the quality or the saturation of the med...

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