Swivel Head

HeadSwivelThere’s an adage in aviation to keep your head on a swivel and outside the cockpit. It ties in with yet another “rule,” see and be seen, and yet another, see and avoid. In other words, every pilot is first taught to fly under visual flight rules (VFR), the most important word in that trio of course being visual.

There’s yet another tip regarding looking outside the cockpit: scanning the horizon in discrete chunks, stopping momentarily and starting over again. Keep your eyes moving because fixation can be deadly. I never gave too much thought to this because it was a new and somewhat scary environment and so I heeded the words of the wise. I did what I was told because I figured I’d learn why soon enough.

Well, here’s [link] scientific proof for why you have to keep your eyes moving and outside the cockpit. Try it and be amazed how much your eyes can lie to you.

This is why, in watching student pilots who record their flights in the latest glass cockpits on YouTube bother me a little. You will notice they spend most of that time heads down, concentrated on those beautiful screens.

It’s not a video game folks, keep your eyes peeled, out of the cockpit and your head on a swivel.