We examined the effects of starting altitude, scene lighting and runway length on glideslope control and
touchdown during simulated flight. Glideslope misperception is common during aircraft landings,
especially when visibility is reduced. It is therefore important to measure the glideslope control errors generated by such misperceptions and determine whether they can be adequately compensated for.
Fixed-wing aircraft landings were simulated under day or night lighting conditions, with pilots starting their final approach either too high, too low or already on the desired 3ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂº glideslope. Eleven private and six student pilots actively controlled these simulated landings until they touched down on one of two runways (either 30 m x 1331 m or 30 m x 1819 m). Both student and private pilots were poor at compensating for approaches that started too high or too low, particularly at night. However, they were able to adjust for these glideslope control errors prior to touchdown via the proper and appropriate execution of the landing flare. While private pilots were no more accurate than students during the glideslope control phase, they typically executed the safest and smoothest landings. Application: This study suggests that flight simulation could be useful in training student pilots to carry out safe landings via the appropriate execution of the landing flare.