Title

Early Afternoon Concurrent Sessions: Critical Issues: Presentation: The Impact of Sleepiness and Sleep Constructs on Pilot Performance

Location

San Tan Ballroom

Topic Area

HUMAN FACTORS

Other Topic Area

Commercial Aviation

Abstract

ABSTRACT

THE IMPACT OF SLEEPINESS AND SLEEP CONSTRUCTS ON PILOT PERFORMANCE

Peter M. Dittmer Ed.D

Jeannette Robins RPSGT

Drowsy pilots are a hazard that might lead to a possible catastrophic

accident or incident. Sleepiness is especially dangerous because pilots do not view it as a condition that is potentially hazardous and often do not realize how sleepy they are. As recently as 2012, the FAA has taken a serious look into the work and sleep habits of CFAR 121 pilots and concluded that pilots have sleep issues.

A current debate in the literature is how subjective sleepiness impacts piloting performance. The correlation between a pilot’s perception of their sleepiness and their piloting performance is unclear. The primary goal of this study is to create an in-depth model demonstrating which measures of sleepiness influence piloting performance. There are various measures of subjective sleepiness that capture two different types of subjective sleeping.

The proposed study will include construct designs of subjective sleepiness, sleep efficiency, and severity of untreated sleep apnea among the CFAR 121 pilots. The primary goal will be to determine which constructs of sleepiness influence piloting performance. A model will be constructed to explain the variability in performance decrements. To do this a quasi-experimental design will be utilized to test the following hypothesis:

1. Is there a correlation between a pilot’s perception of their sleepiness and their piloting skills?

2. Pilots with state sleepiness would have a greater decline across a 60 minute flight, as compared to participants with trait sleepiness.

3. Both sleepiness groups tested in a flight simulator would have degrees of variability compared to the control group.

4. The final hypothesis that the sleep apnea group would perform worse on the flight simulator test compared with the control group.

A questionnaire will be mailed to pilots who have a Class I Medical issued by the FAA. For the purposes of this study pilots will be given anonymity for their participation in this study. These participants will be screened for sleep disorders and excessive sleepiness. Participants who demonstrated an apnea/hypopnea will be asked to withdraw from the study. After recruitment and data collection, participants will be grouped according to their sleepiness scores.

Participants will arrive at a facility with an approved FAA flight simulator. A questionnaire will be filled out both with the control group and those with APNEA. The National Intercollegiate Flying Association scoring software will be used to score each participants maneuvers in the simulator.

The results of the proposed study will be available after the study has been completed this summer. It is the hope of these researchers that the model developed for this study examining the effects of sleep efficiency, pilot age, and trait sleepiness will be a predictor of pilot performance in the cockpit.

Start Date

16-1-2016 1:00 PM

End Date

16-1-2016 2:00 PM

Chair/Note/Host

Co-Chairs: Jimmy Clem, CEO Unmanned Aerial Consulting; Dan Macchiarella, Dean, College of Aviation, ERAU-DB

Keywords

Aviation, Aviation Safety, Sleep Deprivation, Pilots, Pilot Sleep Deprivation, Sleep Research, Aviation Sleep Research, Sleep Constructs, Pilot Performance

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Jan 16th, 1:00 PM Jan 16th, 2:00 PM

Early Afternoon Concurrent Sessions: Critical Issues: Presentation: The Impact of Sleepiness and Sleep Constructs on Pilot Performance

San Tan Ballroom

ABSTRACT

THE IMPACT OF SLEEPINESS AND SLEEP CONSTRUCTS ON PILOT PERFORMANCE

Peter M. Dittmer Ed.D

Jeannette Robins RPSGT

Drowsy pilots are a hazard that might lead to a possible catastrophic

accident or incident. Sleepiness is especially dangerous because pilots do not view it as a condition that is potentially hazardous and often do not realize how sleepy they are. As recently as 2012, the FAA has taken a serious look into the work and sleep habits of CFAR 121 pilots and concluded that pilots have sleep issues.

A current debate in the literature is how subjective sleepiness impacts piloting performance. The correlation between a pilot’s perception of their sleepiness and their piloting performance is unclear. The primary goal of this study is to create an in-depth model demonstrating which measures of sleepiness influence piloting performance. There are various measures of subjective sleepiness that capture two different types of subjective sleeping.

The proposed study will include construct designs of subjective sleepiness, sleep efficiency, and severity of untreated sleep apnea among the CFAR 121 pilots. The primary goal will be to determine which constructs of sleepiness influence piloting performance. A model will be constructed to explain the variability in performance decrements. To do this a quasi-experimental design will be utilized to test the following hypothesis:

1. Is there a correlation between a pilot’s perception of their sleepiness and their piloting skills?

2. Pilots with state sleepiness would have a greater decline across a 60 minute flight, as compared to participants with trait sleepiness.

3. Both sleepiness groups tested in a flight simulator would have degrees of variability compared to the control group.

4. The final hypothesis that the sleep apnea group would perform worse on the flight simulator test compared with the control group.

A questionnaire will be mailed to pilots who have a Class I Medical issued by the FAA. For the purposes of this study pilots will be given anonymity for their participation in this study. These participants will be screened for sleep disorders and excessive sleepiness. Participants who demonstrated an apnea/hypopnea will be asked to withdraw from the study. After recruitment and data collection, participants will be grouped according to their sleepiness scores.

Participants will arrive at a facility with an approved FAA flight simulator. A questionnaire will be filled out both with the control group and those with APNEA. The National Intercollegiate Flying Association scoring software will be used to score each participants maneuvers in the simulator.

The results of the proposed study will be available after the study has been completed this summer. It is the hope of these researchers that the model developed for this study examining the effects of sleep efficiency, pilot age, and trait sleepiness will be a predictor of pilot performance in the cockpit.