Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Jon French, PhD

Committee Member

Elizabeth Blickensderfer, PhD

Committee Member

Mike Wiggins, PhD


The incidence and severity of motion sickness, which can be incapacitating and can prevent training, is ill-established in career paths where motion or simulated motion is commonplace. To assess different aspects of this problem, each of 175 Embry-Riddle student pilots early in their training and 43 Embry-Riddle student non-pilots participated in one of four parts of this study. The Motion History Questionnaire was utilized to compare pilot and non-pilot groups on reported motion sickness sensitivity; non-pilots reported significantly more sensitivity than did pilots for 3 out of 7 items included in the composite score, suggesting possible career self-selection (though composite scores themselves were not significantly different). Among pilots, the Simulator Sickness Questionnaire (SSQ) Total Score showed that (using non-parametric 2-way comparisons): a) experience significantly eased symptoms in the aircraft, but in not the flight training device (FTD), b) "extremity" of lesson content did not affect motion sensitivity in either device, and c) training device did not make a difference in symptom elicitation. Using 20 as an SSQ threshold, 4.2% of pilots in the aircraft and 4.9% of pilots in the FTD suffered from motion/simulator sickness. Though these incidence rates are low, they warrant further research in terms of replication, the role of experience, prevention, and treatment strategies.

Included in

Aviation Commons