Visual Flight Rules Pilots Into Instrumental Meteorological Conditions: a Proposal for a Mobile Application to Increase In-flight Survivability
This paper describes a handheld application to help pilots when entering degraded visibility conditions. In this case, the loss of control is a typical emergency situation from which a pilot should be able to recover, but often he/she doesn’t do owing to problems of situation awareness. A new instrument, based on the use of accelerometers/GPS equipping modern handheld devices has been designed, virtually tested in flight simulators and finally tested in flight. Attention has been given to show essential information in a very simple and intuitive way, so that the instrument can be useful in case of pilot disorientation, panic or high stress levels. After a testing phase, the instrument showed useful to provide an indication about the attitude of the plane and to provide the pilot an indication of the stick and throttle movements needed to restore a safe levelled flight. The use of this application by pilots in emergency situation can enhance the survivability in Instrument Meteorological Conditions also without a specific training. This paper shows how the high computation capability and advanced visualization devices typical of smartphones can be useful to increase the flight safety by developing a new class of emergency not-certified instruments. A further testing phase of the instrument in critical conditions like gusty environment or deteriorated weather will be carried out as a future development of this work to better evaluate the limits of the instrument herein described.
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