On January 25, 1990, Avianca Flight 052 crashed after running out of fuel following a missed approach to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. Weather was poor on the East Coast of the United States that day, and the flight had experienced several holding patterns enroute from Medellín, Colombia, to New York. The accident is analyzed in terms of Helmreich and Foushee's (1993) model of crew performance and Reason's (1990) model of latent pathogens in system operations.
Based on a previous study, a causal model of acquisition of pilot job knowledge and flying skills was tested on separate samples of male and female students. Causal model parameters were estimated separately for each sample and, due to the small sample size for women, no between-groups statistical tests were conducted. The results are viewed as tentative because of the small sample of female students; however, the path coefficient parameter estimates are still useful. The model showed a direct influence of general cognitive ability (g) on the acquisition of job knowledge and an indirect influence on the acquisition of flying skills. The direct and indirect influence of cognitive ability on flying skills was a little stronger for women than for men. Additionally, the path between prior job knowledge (JKp) and flying performance was somewhat stronger for women than for men. Consistent with previous findings, the influence of early flying skills on later flying skills was very strong. No argument for a sex-separated training syllabus is supported.
A closed-loop system was evaluated for its efficacy in using psychophysiological indexes to moderate workload. Participants were asked to perform either 1 or 3 tasks from the Multiattribute Task Battery and complete the NASA Task Load Index after each trial. An electroencephalogram (EEG) was sampled continuously while they performed the tasks, and an EEG index (beta/alpha plus theta) was derived. The system made allocation decisions as a function of the level of operator engagement based on the value of the EEG index. The results of the study demonstrated that it was possible to moderate an operator's level of engagement through a closed-loop system driven by the operator's own EEG. In addition, the system had a significant impact on behavioral, subjective, and psychophysiological correlates of workload as task load increased. The theoretical and practical implications of these results for adaptive automation are discussed.
Elements of the job of Air Traffic Controllers perceived as being stressful were rated for degree of stressfulness by a group of Singaporean controllers. The results were compared with those from earlier studies in Canada and New Zealand. It was hypothesized that the international nature of the job would be reflected in findings from all three groups of controllers. It was further hypothesized, however, that environmental and cultural factors would produce differences among the groups and that these would be greater between the Asian and the two "Western" cultures than between the two earlier samples studied. Results showed that the two Western cultures share 56% common variance in their perceptions of stressfulness, but this changes to 35% between the New Zealand and Singapore groups and only 21% between Canada and Singapore. Although comparison of the factor structure of the stress ratings of the Singapore and New Zealand samples again confirmed a general pattern of underlying stressors related to air traffic control (which fits general occupational models of stress), it also revealed culturally specific components. The nature of these suggests that they are emhedded in the context of Asian environments and cultures. The conclusion is that stress in Air Traffic Controllers is related both to generic occupation stressors and to others that are both organizationally and culturally specific.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the test battery currently used for pilot selection to the Norwegian Air Force. Selection is currently based on a standard battery of 20 different psychological tests as well as on medical tests and on an interview by a licensed psychologist. First, two-factor analyses were conducted to examine the relation between the tests in the battery. Then, a correlation study was conducted to evaluate the predictive validity of the tests against two criteria of pilot performance collected during the basic training period. Finally, a small-scale meta-analysis of previous validation studies in Norway was conducted. me best predictors of success in training, based on the meta-analysis, were Instrument Comprehension (mean r = .29), Mechanical Principles (mean r = .23), and Aviation Information (mean r = .22)
A methodology for the quantitative evaluation of observed workload was proposed. The model was designed to provide point estimations of observed workload at any time during the performance of a set of tasks. The model was also designed to provide information about the task-scheduling strategies used to complete a set of tasks. The proposed model was then tested with data from a full mission flight simulation. The model predictions correlated significantly with expert ratings of workload management made during the flight simulation. The model was also able to distinguish between low- and high-performing aircrews when performance was based on the number of errors made during flight simulations.
Increasing levels of automation are being introduced into the cockpit. Yet, it is difficult to predict the impact of these automatic systems on other elements of flight, such as crew communication and the ability to arrive at an effective decision. This study attempted to clarify the relation among these variables. Forty-eight pilots were assigned to two-person crews and asked to fly a simulated mission in either automated or manual conditions using a low-fidelity simulator. The scenario was designed to require crewmembers to arrive at a collective decision based on information obtained about an evolving simulated disaster. The results indicated that the introduction of automation was not associated with better performance. However, several significant differences were observed in the communications of crews flying in the automated versus manual conditions. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for communications training for advanced technology aircraft.
The validity of a personality questionnaire for the prediction of job success of airline pilots is compared to validities of a simulator checkflight and of flying experience data. During selection, 274 pilots applying for employment with a European charter airline were examined with a multidimensional personality questionnaire (Temperature Structure Scales; TSS). Additionally, the applicants were graded in a simulator checkflight. On the basis of training records, the pilots were classified as performing at standard or below standard after about 3 years of employment in the hiring company. In a multiple-regression model, this dichotomous criterion for job success can be predicted with 73.8% accuracy through the simulator checkflight and flying experience prior to employment. By adding the personality questionnaire to the regression equation, the number of correct classifications increases to 79.3%. On average, successful pilots score substantially higher on interpersonal scales and lower on emotional scales of the TSS.
Pilots holding the Airline Transport Pilot certificate were surveyed about the seriousness of the alcohol problem in various areas of aviation and about the importance of a number of possible reasons why a pilot might drink and fly. They also rated a number of actions in terms of their potential effectiveness for reducing inappropriate alcohol use, and they evaluated a number of characteristics of employee-assistance programs. Respondents judged employee-assistance programs to be the best way to reduce problem drinking. They also identified areas in which currently available employee-assistance programs could be improved.
The advantage of a head-up auditory display for situational awareness was evaluated in an experiment designed to measure and compare the acquisition time for capturing visual targets under two conditions: standard head-down Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System display and three-dimensional (3-D) audio Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System presentation. (The technology used for 3-D audio presentation allows a stereo headphone user to potentially localize a sound at any externalized position in 3-D auditory space). Ten commercial airline crews were tested under full-mission simulation conditions at the NASA-Ames Crew-Vehicle Systems Research Facility Advanced Concepts Flight Simulator. Scenario software generated targets corresponding to aircraft that activated a 3-D aural advisory (the head-up auditory condition) or a standard, visual-audio TCAS advisory (map display with monaural audio alert). Results showed a significant difference in target acquisition time between the two conditions, favoring the 3-D audio Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System condition by 500 ms.
Previous work has documented cognitive deficits at high altitudes (15,000-25,000 ft), but there is controversy for lower altitudes. This study looked at the effects of moderate altitudes--12,500 ft and 15,000 ft--on short-term memory in comparison to 2,000 ft. Seventy-two student pilots and instructors were first administered the Vocabulary, Digit Span, and Digit Symbol subtests from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised, the Vandenberg Mental Rotation Test, and the near-contrast sensitivity portion of the Vistech VCTS 6000 chart. Participants then spent 1 1/2 hr at their designated altitude for cognitive testing. Participants performed a 30 min vigilance task while listening to an audiotape with instructions to recall radio calls prefaced by their assigned call sign. Half of the radio calls were high memory loads (at least 4 pieces of information), and half were low memory loads (no more than 2 pieces of information). No effects of altitude were found in performance on the Vigilance task. However, for readbacks of high memory load, significant deficits in recall were observed at 12,500 ft and 15,000 ft, whereas no effect of altitude was observed on recall of readbacks with low memory loads. These results indicate that, at altitude, short-term memory was exceeded for the readbacks requiring a larger amount of information to be recalled, and that cognitive deficits are found at lower altitudes than previously observed.
Previous research indicates that pilots of most jet-fighter aircraft attend to similar elements of the natural flight environment when flying at low altitudes. However, some evidence suggests that differences may exist for pilots of certain specific types of aircraft. The present experiment examined the influence of operational factors on the perceived structure of real-world scenes viewed during low-altitude flight. Multidimensional scaling analyses with stimuli consisting of videotape segments of low-altitude flight over a variety of real-world terrains revealed differences in perceived environmental structure for pilots assigned to different types of jet-fighter aircraft. These results provide evidence that perceptual learning evolves differently under different operational conditions and suggests that training programs should be designed to reflect those differences.
Psychophysiological assessment of pilot mental workload using heart rate should be augmented with an autonomic space model of cardiovascular function. This model proposes that autonomic nervous system influences on the heart may change with psychological processing in ways that are not evident in heart rate. A method of mental-workload assessment was proposed that used multiple psychophysiological measures of cardiovascular responsivity to derive the underlying sympathetic and parasympathetic information needed to represent the autonomic space for heart rate. Principal-components analysis was used to extract Sympathetic and Parasympathetic components from heart period, residual heart period. respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and Traube-Hering-Mayer wave in three experiments that manipulated perceptual/central processing and physical task demands. This initial evaluation of the method concluded that the autonomic components were valid and that the components had greater diagnosticity, and for some manipulations greater sensitivity, than heart rate. These results support the contention that the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic components provided increased precision for mental-workload assessment.
Presented are specific parameters of visual information intake in pilots on the job. The role of eye movements in the process of visual stimulus reception is discussed. Our own study on a MIG-23 flight simulator is presented. The method of oculographic testing of pilots performing professional assignments differing in workload is presented, and the practical implications of oculographic research are discussed.
After 9/11, new security duties were instituted at many U.S. air carriers and existing safety and security duties received increased emphasis. Concurrently, in-flight services were changed and in many cases, cabin crews were reduced. This article examines the post-9/11 conflict between passenger service and the timely performance of safety and security duties at 1 major U.S. air carrier. In-flight data were obtained on both international and domestic flights. The data suggest that the prompt performance of the safety and security duties is adversely affected by the number of service duties occurring in the later part of both international and domestic flights.
An aspect of human personality, fear of loss of face, has attracted only minimal experimental investigation, despite the widespread recognition of the condition and its potentially adverse effects on behavior. A survey of the available literature shows fear of loss of face to be an important aspect of pilot decision making. This article considers the phenomenon in more detail and recommends an amendment to the 5 hazardous attitudes concept developed at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Diehl, 1990). At the same time, recognition of the contribution of Telfer (1987, 1989) is also made, with a recommendation to incorporate Telfer's proposal to improve the concept.
Studies have shown that autonomous mode behavior is one cause of aircraft fatalities due to pilot error. In such cases, the pilot is in a high state of psychological and physiological arousal and tends to focus on one problem, while ignoring more critical information. This study examined the effect of training in physiological self-recognition and regulation, as a means of improving crew cockpit performance. Seventeen pilots were assigned to the treatment and control groups matched for accumulated flight hours. The treatment group contained 4 pilots from HC-130 Hercules aircraft and 4 HH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilots; the control group contained 3 pilots of HC-130s and 6 helicopter pilots. During an initial flight, physiological data were recorded on each crewmember and an instructor pilot rated individual crew performance. Eight crewmembers were then taught to regulate their own physiological response levels using Autogenic-Feedback Training Exercise (AFTE). The remaining participants received no training. During a second flight, treatment participants showed significant improvement in performance (rated by the same instructor pilot as in pretests) while controls did not improve. The results indicate that AFTE management of high states of physiological arousal may improve pilot performance during emergency flying conditions.
Automated aids and decision support tools are rapidly becoming indispensable tools in high-technology cockpits and are assuming increasing control of"cognitive" flight tasks, such as calculating fuel-efficient routes, navigating, or detecting and diagnosing system malfunctions and abnormalities. This study was designed to investigate automation bias, a recently documented factor in the use of automated aids and decision support systems. The term refers to omission and commission errors resulting from the use of automated cues as a heuristic replacement for vigilant information seeking and processing. Glass-cockpit pilots flew flight scenarios involving automation events or opportunities for automation-related omission and commission errors. Although experimentally manipulated accountability demands did not significantly impact performance, post hoc analyses revealed that those pilots who reported an internalized perception of "accountability" for their performance and strategies of interaction with the automation were significantly more likely to double-check automated functioning against other cues and less likely to commit errors than those who did not share this perception. Pilots were also lilkely to erroneously "remember" the presence of expected cues when describing their decision-making processes.
Attitudes regarding flight deck automation were surveyed in a sample of 5,879 airline pilots from 12 nations. The average difference in endorsement levels across 11 items for pilots flying automated aircraft in 12 nations was 53%, reflecting significant national differences in attitudes on all items, with the largest differences observed for preference and enthusiasm for automation. The range of agreement across nations was on average four times larger than the range of agreement across different airlines within the same nation, and roughly six times larger than the range across pilots of standard and pilots of automated aircraft. Patterns of response are described in terms of dimensions of national culture. Implications of the results for development of safety cultures and culturally sensitive training are discussed.
The experiments discussed in this article addressed the influence of part-task automation on operator performance, workload, and fatigue in a multitask environment. The overall task environment included tracking, resource management, and multiple monitoring subtasks. Slower, more accurate monitoring and better resource management were observed when the tracking subtask was automated. Although lower workload was reported when tracking was automated, fatigue increased equally during periods of manual and automatic tracking. When participants could control workload by shifting between manual and automatic tracking, participants with 7 hr of training switched between automatic and manual tracking. Their performance during optional automation periods was superior to their performance in conditions in which only manual control or only automated control was available. The findings argue for the utility of discretionary control of automated systems.
The availability of automated decision aids can sometimes feed into the general human tendency to travel the road of least cognitive effort. Is this tendency toward "automation bias" (the use of automation as a heuristic replacement for vigilant information seeking and processing) ameliorated when more than one decision maker is monitoring system events? This study examined automation bias in two-person crews versus solo performers under varying instruction conditions. Training that focused on automation bias and associated errors successfully reduced commission, but not omission, errors. Teams and solo performers were equally likely to fail to respond to system irregularities or events when automated devices failed to indicate them, and to incorrectly follow automated directives when the contradicted other system information.
The importance of having well-developed knowledge structures to enhance complex team performance has been recently indicated in the training effectiveness literature. This work tested that proposition within an aviation team training setting. Results suggested that aviation team training improved the knowledge structures of those participants who received the training. Knowledge structure data also provided information related to the training that was not available from more traditional measures of learning. Finally, results obtained from the knowledge structure measures were consistent with performance results, suggesting that knowledge structure measures are a potentially valid predictor of performance.
One of the most remarkable changes in aviation training over the past few decades is the use of simulation. The capabilities now offered by simulation have created unlimited opportunities for aviation training. In fact, aviation training is now more realistic, safe, cost-effective, and flexible than ever before. However, we believe that a number of misconceptions--or invalid assumptions--exist in the simulation community that prevent us from fully exploiting and utilizing recent scientific advances in a number of related fields in order to further enhance aviation training. These assumptions relate to the overreliance on high-fidelity simulation and to the misuse of simulation to enhance learning of complex skills. The purpose of this article is to discuss these assumptions in the hope of initiating a dialogue between behavioral scientists and engineers.
In this study, we describe changes in the nature of Crew Resource Management (CRM) training in commercial aviation, including its shift from cockpit to crew resource management. Validation of the impact of CRM is discussed. Limitations of CRM, including lack of cross-cultural generality are considered. An overarching framework that stresses error management to increase acceptance of CRM concepts is presented. The error management approach defines behavioral strategies taught in CRM as error countermeasures that are employed to avoid error, to trap errors committed, and to mitigate the consequences of error.
In the two experiments that examined recognition accuracy in the near visual periphery as a function of foveal cognitive load, aviators were shown to have larger effective functional visual fields than nonaviators. The aviators appeared to be far less susceptible to the visual field narrowing found in nonaviators. The narrowing found in nonaviators suggested a tunnel-vision-like pattern. The rather small effect of load increases on aviator performance was likely due to specialized training and experience. Student aviators who averaged only 70 flight hr were clearly superior to nonaviators on peripheral recognition with a concomitant foveal task.
The purpose of this study was to determine how 3 variables for the design of a "heads-down" spatial display--the frame of reference (pilot's eye vs. God's eye), geometric field of view, and elevation of the computer graphics eyepoint--influenced situation awareness. Thirteen flight-naive subjects each flew a simulated F-16 over a computer-generated flight environment to lock onto and intercept a series of sequentially appearing targets. The flight scene consisted of both an "out-the-window" view and a computer-generated heads-down spatial display showing an airplane symbol superimposed on a perspective view of the flight environment. During the interactive phase of the experiment, root mean square flight-path error, target lock-on time, and target acquisition time were measured. After the interactive phase of the study was completed, subjects were required to mark the location of the targets from memory on a computer-generated top-down view of the flight scene in an attempt to reconstruct the spatial mental model which subjects formed of the flight environment. The results for the interactive phase of the study indicated that performance was superior using the pilot's-eye display. However, for the spatial reconstruction task, performance was better using the God's-eye display. It was also shown that the ability to maintain the optimal flight-path using the more top-down view of the scene (600 eyepoint) was superior to the 300 eyepoint elevation. Implications of the results for the design of spatial instruments are discussed.
Situational awareness (SA) is a skill often deemed essential to pilot performance in both combat and noncombat flying. A study was conducted to determine if SA in U.S. Air Force F-15 pilots could be predicted. The participants were 171 active duty F-15 A/C pilots who completed a test battery representative of various psychological constructs proposed or demonstrated to be valid for the prediction of performance in a wide variety of military and civilian jobs. These predictors encompassed measures of cognitive ability, psychomotor ability, and personality. Supervisor and peer ratings of SA were collected. Supervisors and peers showed substantial agreement on the SA ratings of the pilots. The first unrotated principle component extracted from the supervisor and peer ratings accounted for 92.5% of the variability of ratings. The unrotated first principal component served as the SA criterion. Flying experience measured in number of F-15 hours was the best predictor of SA. After controlling for the effects of F-15 flying hours, the measures of general cognitive ability based on working memory, spatial reasoning, and divided attention were found to be predictive of SA. Psychomotor and personality measures were not predictive. With additional F-15 flying hours it is expected that pilots would improve their ratings of SA.
This article presents a critical examination of pilot selection batteries. The first part of the article focuses on two problems. First, the vast majority of pilot selection batteries predict training performance rather than operational performance; second, the batteries have low correlations between the predictors and the criterion. The second part of the article examines why these two problems occur. Last, a number of suggestions for improving the predictive validity of the selection batteries are offered.
Age and expertise effects on time-sharing performance were examined. Pilots were considered to have an expertise in time-sharing because of their cockpit experience. Ninety pilots and nonpilots performed a battery of cognitive tasks that represented different aspects of piloting. The results revealed that time-sharing performance was age sensitive. However, expertise appeared to have some moderating influence on the age effects. Further, analysis of the overlap of the response distributions from different age groups suggested that age alone was not a definitive discriminator of an individual's time-sharing skill.
In a previous article (Chute & Wiener, 1995), we explored the coordination between the "two cultures" in an airliner's crew: cockpit and cabin. In this article, we discuss a particular problem: the dilemma facing the cabin crew when they feel that they have safety-critical information and must decide whether to take it to the cockpit. We explore the reasons for the reluctance of the flight attendant to come forward with the information, such as self-doubt about the accuracy or importance of the information, fear of dismissal or rebuke by the pilots, and misunderstanding of the sterile cockpit rule. Insight into crew attitudes was based on our examination of accident and incident reports and data from questionnaires submitted by pilots and flight attendants at two airlines. The results show confusion and disagreement about what is permissible to take to the cockpit when it is sterile, as well as imbalances in authority and operational knowledge. Possible remedies are proposed.
Several dramatic accidents have emphasized certain deficiencies in cockpit-cabin coordination and communication. There are historical, organizational, environmental, psychosocial, and regulatory factors that have led to misunderstandings, problematic attitudes, and suboptimal interactions between the cockpit and cabin crews. Our research indicates the basic problem is that these two crews represent two distinct and separate cultures and that this separation serves to inhibit satisfactory teamwork. A survey was conducted at two airlines to measure attitudes of cockpit and cabin crews concerning the effectiveness of their communications. This article includes recommendations for the improvement of communications across the two cultures.
Two experiments examined the effects of display location (head-up and head-down), display clutter, and display intensity on pilot performance in a general aviation-cruise flight environment. In Experiment 1, a low-fidelity simulation revealed that the detection of commanded flight changes and flight-path tracking performance was better in the head-down condition as compared to the head-up condition. In contrast, midair traffic detection was superior with the head-up display (HUD), reflecting an attentional trade-off. Experiment 2 used the same paradigm in a high-fidelity visual simulation. Flight performance was equivalent between HUD and head-down locations. Detection of commanded changes and traffic was better in the HUD condition, revealing the HUD benefits of reduced scanning. The presence of clutter inhibited detection of command changes and traffic in both head-up and head-down conditions. Lowlighting the task-irrelevant clutter did not facilitate detection of commanded changes, however, the clutter cost for detecting traffic was diminished if the added information was lowlighted in the head-down location. The data suggested that attention was modulated between tasks (flight control and detection), and between display areas (head-up and head-down).
This article examines the representational properties of cockpit information displays from the perspective of distributed representations (Zhang & Norman, 1994). The basic idea is that the information needed for many tasks in a cockpit is distributed across the external information displays in the cockpit and the internal minds of the pilots. It is proposed that the relative distribution of internal and external information is the major factor of a display's representational efficiency. Several functionally equivalent but representationally different navigation displays are selected to illustrate how the principle of distributed representations is applied to the analysis of the representational efficiencies of cockpit information displays.
Role-plays serve a unique purpose in providing practice and feedback for aircrew team development training in the classroom. When compared with other training strategies, role-play provides targeted practice and feedback of specific behaviors at low cost, with the trade-off being the amount of fidelity it provides. This article presents guidelines for designing role-plays to elicit crew resource management (CRM) behaviors and providing feedback to trainees on their performance. Through careful design procedures, a role-play exercise can provide both targeted practice and feedback and serve a useful purpose in the overall training design of a CRM training program.
We examined the effects of both 5- and 10-mg/7O kg body weight of d-methamphetamine HCl on high event rate vigilance and tracking performance in a 13.5-hr sustained-performance session during one night of sleep loss. At 0116 hours participants were administered either a 5 mg/70 kg oral dose of d-methamphetamine (n=10), 10 mg/70 kg d-methamphetamine (n=10), or a placebo (n=10) using standard double-blind procedures. Performance on all measures degraded markedly during the night in the placebo group. Both the 5- and 10-mg methamphetamines treatment reversed an initial decline in d', and reversed increases in nonresponses (lapses) and tracking error within approximately 3 hr of administration. No evidence that amphetamine treatment increased impulsive responding (fast guesses) was observed. The magnitude of the performance effects of the methamphetamine treatments was similar at 3 hr postadministration. However, the effects of the 5-mg dose were shorter-lived, disappearing by the last testing session (6.5 hr postadministration), whereas effects of the 10-mg dose tended to remain throughout testing. Both amphetamine treatments decreased subjective sleepiness during the night and tended to increase subjective sleep latencies during a post-testing sleep period.
An experiment was conducted to assess visual target detection performance using a helmet-mounted display (HMD) and a conventional flight simulation dome display. Measures of workload and mood were also obtained. Participants in both viewing conditions scanned an area 120 degrees vertical by 240 degrees horizontal while attempting to locate targets that appeared to be approaching them from one of a possible 18 locations. Results indicated significantly superior performance in the conventional dome display. Workload and mood measures also showed a significant advantage for the dome display. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for the design and use of HMD systems as components of airborne virtual environment interfaces.
The performance of pilots can be construed as a product of skill, attitude, and personality factors. Although a great deal of effort within the aviation community has been focused on ensuring technical expertise, and new efforts highlight attitudes associated with crew coordination, personality factors have been relatively unexplored. Further, it is argued that past failures to find linkages between personality and performance were due to a combination of inadequate statistical modeling, premature performance evaluation, and/or the reliance on data gathered in contrived as opposed to realistic situations. The goal of the research presented in this article is to isolate subgroups of pilots along performance-related personality dimensions and to document limits on the impact of crew coordination training between the groups. Two samples of military pilots were surveyed in the context of training in crew coordination. Three different profiles were identified through cluster analysis of personality scales. These clusters replicated across samples and predicted attitude change following training in crew coordination.
For years, pilot selection has focused primarily on the identification of individuals with superior flying skills and abilities. More recently, the aviation community has become increasingly aware that successful completion of a flight or mission requires not only flying skills but the ability to work well in a crew situation. This project involved development and validation of a crew resource management (CRM) skills test for Air Force transport pilots. A significant relation was found between the CRM skills test and behavior-based ratings of aircraft commander CRM performance, and the implications of these findings for CRM-based selection and training are discussed.
Participants' self-reports and measures of attitudes regarding flightdeck management indicate that crew resource management training is favorably received and causes highly significant, positive changes in attitudes regarding crew coordination and personal capabilities. However, a subset of participants reacted negatively to the training and showed boomerangs (negative change) in attitudes. Explorations into the causes of this effect pinpoint personality factors and group dynamics as critical determinants of reactions to training and of the magnitude and direction of attitude change. Implications of these findings for organizations desiring to enhance crew effectiveness are discussed, and areas of needed additional research are described.
This research derives from a 60-day isolation study realized for the European Space Agency (ESA) as a simulation of space flights. Three goals were pursued in this study: (a) to study individual and group responses to the stress factors specific to the simulation; (b) to make a critical comparison of a variety of tools and methods used for this purpose; and (c) to express recommendations for future research. Direct methods (questionnaires, tests) and indirect methods (observation) were used in an individual and a whole group assessment. The group did not show important stress manifestations during the isolation period. It maintained its cohesion by opposing the external authority. Some tools were more efficient than others: The qualitative and indirect methods have revealed much more information than the quantitative or direct methods that reinforced one's defense to avoid criticism.
Two experiments are reported that examined the influence of variation in task demand on performance and workload. The first experiment considered how the manipulation of prior level of task demand affected subsequent workload and performance. The second experiment examined the effects on performance and workload of increments in the level of task demand. Results from the first study indicated that prior level of imposed task difficulty did affect response in a manner consistent with a scaling of workload in relation to previous task conditions. The second study demonstrated the primacy of absolute demand level over increments in that demand as influencing operator response. Overall, our results indicate that workload and performance are sensitive to multiple characteristics of the task and not instantaneous demand level alone. These findings are important in explaining why association and dissociation occur between task demand, operator efficiency, and perceived workload in differing performance contexts. The importance of these findings for the aviation psychologist in assessing pilot and operator workload is articulated.
Two experiments are reported that contrast rotating versus fixed electronic map displays, which pilots used for a simulated approach to a landing. In Experiment 1, a rotating versus fixed-map display was experimentally crossed with a two-dimensional (2D) versus three-dimensional (3D) view (perspective map) as pilots' ability to maintain the flight path and demonstrate awareness of the location of surrounding terrain features were assessed. Rotating displays supported better flight path guidance and did not substantially harm performance on terrain awareness tasks. 3D displays led to a substantial cost for vertical control but did not differ from 2D displays in lateral control. In Experiment 2, pilots flew with the rotating 2D display and with an improved version of the rotating 3D display, designed to reduce the ambiguity of representing altitude information. Vertical control improved as a result of the 3D display design improvement, but lateral control did not. The results are discussed in terms of the costs and benefits of presenting information in 3D, ego-referenced format for both flight path control and terrain awareness.
Altitude exposures above 3,000 m produce changes in symptoms, moods, and cognitive/motor performance of unacclimatized individuals and should produce graded effects on these parameters as elevation and duration are increased. This study examined effects on these parameters as a function of altitude level and duration of exposure by administering standardized tests from 1 to 3 times to 23 males in an altitude chamber during 4.5-hour exposures to 3 levels of hypobaric hypoxia: 500 m, 4,200 m, and 4,700 m. Exposure to altitude significantly affected symptoms, moods, and performance in an elevation-dependent fashion. Adverse changes increased with higher altitudes (all measures were affected at 4,700 m, whereas only some were at 4,200 m) and usually with longer durations. Therefore, specific aspects of symptoms, moods, and performance are significantly degraded after only a few hours of exposure to hypobaric hypoxia, and the severity of the effects dramatically increases when testing is conducted at 4,700 m compared to 4,200 m.
This study examined the effects of exposure to intermittent jet aircraft noise (70 dBA or 95 dBA maximum intensity) and knowledge of results concerning signal detections (hit-KR) on performance efficiency and perceived workload in a 40-min visual vigilance task. The noise featured a Doppler-like quality in which planes seemed to approach from the monitor's left and recede to the right. Perceptual sensitivity (d') was poorer in the context of noise than in quiet but only in the presence of hit-KR. The lack of noise-related performance differences in the absence of hit-KR most likely reflected a "floor effect" rather than some special relation between noise and feedback. When compared to subjects performing in quiet, those who operated in noise were less able to profit from hit-KR, a result that may reflect the effects of noise on information processing. In addition to its negative effects on signal detectability, noise elevated the perceived workload, as measured by the NASA-TLX. This effect was robust; it was independent of the presence of hit-KR, even though hit-KR generally lowered the overall level of perceived workload. The results provide the initial experimental demonstration that perceived workload is a sensitive measure of the effects of aircraft noise in monitoring tasks.
Our study examined pilot scheduling behavior in the context of simulated instrument flight. Over the course of the flight, pilots flew along specified routes while scheduling and performing several flight-related secondary tasks. The first phase of flight was flown under low-workload conditions, whereas the second phase of flight was flown under high-workload conditions in the form of increased turbulence and a disorganized instrument layout. Six pilots were randomly assigned to each of three workload preview groups. Subjects in the no-preview group were not given preview of the increased-workload conditions. Subjects in the declarative preview group were verbally informed of the nature of the flight workload manipulation but did not receive any practice under the high-workload conditions. Subjects in the procedural preview group received the same instructions as the declarative preview group but also flew half of the practice flight under the high-workload conditions. The results show that workload preview fostered efficient scheduling strategies. Specifically, those pilots with either declarative or procedural preview of future workload demands adopted an efficient strategy of scheduling more of the difficult secondary tasks during the low-workload phase of flight. However, those pilots given a procedural preview showed the greatest benefits in overall flight performance.
The effect of changes in runway width on the perception of glide-slope has been the subject of extensive investigations. Despite considerable research, an explanation of this effect has been elusive. A mathematical model for glide-slope perception was published recently based on the premise that a desirable goal of perception is to form a perception with minimal uncertainty. One of the qualitative predictions of that model was that changes in the aspect ratio of the runway would affect the perceived glide-slope. In this article, the predictions of the model are quantified and are shown to be in close agreement with experimental results in the literature.
This article reviews contemporary trends in the psychological testing of pilots. It is written in the particular context of draft European Joint Aviation Authorities licensing proposals which, in certain circumstances, envisage psychological testing for pilot licensing purposes. The article aims to clarify issues relating to the validity, reliability, and value of pilot psychological testing in this particular context. It is first suggested that the entire domain is characterized by terminological and methodological confusion. The economic and other benefits of psychological testing are contrasted with the potential risks, including abuse and the use of tests in circumstances for which they were never designed. Reference also is made to cultural differences that potentially may impact on the practical realities of psychological testing--especially within the European context, where the debate is presently at its most intense.
The purposes of this study were to review the validity evidence for psychological measures used in pilot selection and to detect possible moderators for the relationship between predictors and pilot performance. A total of 66 independent samples from 50 studies were located and included in the meta-analysis. The best predictors of pilot performance were previous training experience (.30) and combined indexes, a combination of several cognitive and/or psychomotor tests (.37). The next best predictors were tests measuring cognitive (.24) and psychomotor/information-processing abilities (.24), as well as aviation information (.24) and biographical inventories (.23). The personality, intelligence, and academic tests yielded lowest mean validities (.14, .16, and .15, respectively). The analysis indicated that moderators might be operating for all test categories except academics, and the effect of several moderators were examined.
The role of general cognitive ability (g) in the selection of military pilots is discussed. Four seminal issues that threaten the interpretation of the results of ability studies are introduced and examined. A brief history of the use of g in pilot selection is presented, going back to the World War I era. At that time, many countries used tests such as perception and reaction time, later shown to be mostly measures of g. The World War II era brought the age of the multiple aptitude batteries, and with it, the theory of differential abilities. However, most militaries still used highly g-saturated measures. More recently, an awareness of the prominence of g in job performance has led to a series of studies that showed the central role of g in predicting pilot success. In comparative analyses, g was found to be a better predictor of pilot criteria than specific abilities. However, some specific abilities or measures of job knowledge were found to increment the predictiveness of g. Several selection variables that appeared to measure characteristics other than g were found to measure, at least in some part, g. These include psychomotor tests and structured interviews. Finally, speculation on the future of the measurement of g is presented.
This review provides an historical perspective of the use of psychomotor, perceptual--cognitive paper-and-pencil, and automated tests for the selection of pilot trainees by the U.S. military services. Automated versions of vintage psychomotor tests (developed in the 1930s and 1940s) seem to be as predictive of military pilot/aviator performance today as in the past. The psychomotor tests receiving the most attention today are the Complex Coordination and Two-Hand Coordination tests originally developed by Mashburn and colleagues [correction of colleges] before World War II (Mashburn, 1934). These tests were significant predictors of Air Force and Navy pass--fail criteria in the past, and automated versions are similarly predictive today. The U.S. Army and Air Force are now using a combination of paper-and-pencil and automated psychomotor--cognitive tests for initial selection (Air Force) or helicopter assignment (Army). It appears that the Navy is considering the use of automated cognitive and psychomotor tests in a selection battery of the future.