black-hole approach

black-hole approach

black-hole approach
Approach with various lights on ground available for reference
black-hole approach
A black-hole approach: No other reference except for runway lights is available. The pilot tends to make an undershooting approach and may also feel that the runway is slightly tilted.
An approach to a runway on a dark night where the only lights visible are the runway edge lights. The pilot, under these conditions, thinks that the aircraft is higher than it is, resulting in an urge to fly a lower and flatter approach. Approach aids like the ILS (instrument landing system) and the VASI (visual approach slope indicator) can help resist this undesirable tendency.
References in periodicals archive ?
I read with interest the articles in April's edition about "Low-Viz I Takeoffs," by Tom Turner, and the Accident Probe, "Black-Hole Approach." I had a night takeoff about five years ago that combined both situations.
Unless we're on guard against it, the optical illusion involved in the black-hole approach makes us think we're higher than we actually are.
Over the course of my life I have experienced most of these, but one of them, the black-hole illusion, or black-hole approach as pilots sometimes call it, remained a mystery.
The black-hole approach illusion typically occurs when a landing is made over water or non-lighted terrain where the runway lights are the only source of light.
As mentioned earlier, night flying wasn't an issue with me so I didn't fret over a black-hole approach, but then something happened that got my attention.
I contacted the authors of some well-written articles on the black-hole approach phenomenon and asked if such an illusion could happen because of runway slope.
The result is a non-stabilized, curved approach commonly known as a black-hole approach and depicted by the red dashed line.
The FAA's Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A) defines a black-hole approach as one when a landing approach is made in conditions where the runway lights are the only source of light.