Discussion Topics

Discussion Topics

Stroboscopic Movement in Aviation

Stroboscopic effect is a common occurrence in rotating objects.It occurs when a rotating object appears to be still or moving in the opposite direction. In the aviation industry, this effect can happen when one views the rotating blades of the propeller. The pilot in an aircraft may also suffer from this effect when he gazes at the rotating propeller. The stroboscopic effect can lead to flicker vertigo, an undesirable impact on the aviation industry. The stroboscopic effect has both desirable and undesirable consequences on human vision.It causes flicker vertigo in aircrafts. It can also be used for visual training to improve visual cognition and accuracy.

The primary adverse effect of stroboscopic effect in aviation is the flicker vertigo. Flicker vertigo occurs when light from the sun or the moon shines on the rotating blades of the aircraft’s propeller, and the light is reflected to the eyes of the person looking at the propeller (Rash, 2004). In the case of the pilot, light from the rotating blades may create spatial disorientation that may cause the pilot to make a wrong conscious or unconscious decision that may crash the plane. Spatial disorientation creates an illusion of the object that makes the pilot unable to interpret the real object from illusions.

In spite of its adverse effect in the aviation industry, the stroboscopic effect has significant advantages that can be harnessed. The illusion created from rotating objects can be used in visual training.Footballers and other people that need visual training can be exposed to short stimuli to improve their accuracy of cognition and processing of information (Appelbaum& Cain, 2012).  People that have mastered stroboscopic training can be employed in areas that require the lowest exposure for detecting motion.Additionally, awareness of the stroboscopic effect has a significant contribution to the understanding of how its adverse effects can be minimized. For instance, recognizing that stroboscopic effects cause flicker vertigo helps aviation engineers understand how to handle cases that arise from it.

Depth Perception

            Depth perception only occurs in people that can see with both eyes. Light travels from the point of focus on the object to the eye, and at the point of conversion of the two rays, the viewer can perceive the depth of the object. In the absence of one eye, conversion cannot occur, implying that one cannot sense depth.Visual cues are essential as they help people in perceiving depth dimension of objects. Depth perception enables the viewer to identify the third dimension of an object.

I experienced depth perception recently when riding with my friends. We were climbing the hill, and an eyelash dropped into my right eye. I decided to cover the eye with one hand as I waited for one of my colleagues to help remove the eyelash.It was a relatively busy lane, and I knew that I had to hurry to avoid an accident. I saw a vehicle approaching, but it was not changing its size. Under normal conditions, an object will appear large when moving near the eyes and smaller when moving away (Sweet & Kaiser, 2011). I realized that I could not tell whether the vehicle was coming my way or it was standing. I only heard it hooting, and I realized that I had lost my sense of depth perception. It was only after I had regained my eyesight from the other eye that I realized the importance of having two functional eyes.


Appelbaum, L., G. & Cain, S., M. (2012). Stroboscopic visual training improves information encoding in short-term memory.Psychonomic Society. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5b89/72ee8737f8bf8474afca06d590f1a78cf0a5.pdf

Rash, C. (2004). Awareness of causes and symptoms of flicker vertigo can limit three effects. Flight Safety Foundation: Human Factors and Aviation Medicine, 51 (2). Retrieved from https://flightsafety.org/hf/hf_mar-apr04.pdf

Sweet, B., T. & Kaiser, M., K. (2011).Depth perception, cueing, and control. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f6c3/c7ccb4d67c1bba8a353566499d2e1c1aa302.pdf

Watson, R., M. &Enns, J., T. (2011).Depth perception.Retrieved from http://visionlab.psych.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2016/03/131_WatsonEnns_DepthPerception.pdf


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