Age 60 study, part IV : experimental evaluation of pilot performance.

Age 60 study, part IV : experimental evaluation of pilot performance.

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    This document is one of four products completed as a part of the Age 60 Rule Research Contract monitored by Pam Della Rocco, Civil Aerospace Medical Institute. This report was a deliverable from the research contract with Hilton Systems, Inc. on the FAA's mandatory retirement for pilots operating under Federal Aviation Regulations Part 121, the "Age 60 Rule." The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of developing an individually based pilot performance assessment, as well as design an experimental methodology to empirically examine the relationship between pilot aging and performance. Pilot performance was measured with both domain dependent, as well as domain-independent assessments to test a decrement with compensation model of expertise and aging. Computerized cognitive test batteries, COGSREEN and WOMBAT, were selected as the domain independent measures. Flitescript and whole task performance in the B727 simulator were domain dependent measures. Forty B727 rated pilots were recruited from air carriers and the FAA. Pilots were males between the ages of 41 and 71 years (M=53.9, sd=8.1). All pilots had a minimum of 5000 hours of total flight time with a wide range of total and recent hours in type. Three simulator scenarios were designed to assess pilot performance on routine and emergency/abnormal maneuvers. Simulator performance measures were based on a deviation score and an evaluator rating. The relationships between the following measures were assessed by examination of the correlations between: 1) flying experience and simulator performance, 2) predictor test scores and simulator performance, 3) interrelationships between the predictor tests, and 4) age, flying experience, predictor test scores and simulator performance. Finally, pilot perceptions of each measure were assessed. COGSCREEN total composite scores were significantly correlated with evaluator ratings on emergency/abnormal maneuvers. Neither WOMBAT nor Flitescript were found to correlate with simulator performance. Pilot age was significantly correlated with performance on the predictor tests. A pattern of inter correlations among pilot age, COGSCREEN and simulator performance was discussed.
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