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Abstract

Flight training has received little attention in fatigue research. Only transfers of knowledge gained in commercial and military aviation have been applied to general aviation without bridging the gap to the training environment. The purpose of this study was to assess collegiate aviation students’ perceptions of lifestyle and mitigation strategies related to fatigue. Participants were recruited from a Midwestern university’s accredited Part 141 flight school and a partner fixed base operator (FBO). The researchers of this study used a survey questionnaire to gather quantitative and qualitative responses. The majority of participants (68%) had logged less than 250 flight hours and were under 25 years of age (93%). Many respondents (66%) reported fatigued stemming from sleep quantity or quality deficits. The primary fatigue contributing factors included an insufficient resting time and an inadequate work-free time balance. Daily free time activities conducive to healthy sleep patterns were frequently neglected. Furthermore, several other factors that affected participants’ lifestyles resulted from demands imposed by the college environment. A finding of concern was that half of the sample did not consider themselves to engage in fully adequate bodily exercise, nutritional habits, and workload or stress management. These areas, however, are prime considerations when working towards healthy sleep patterns. Lastly, the researchers presented recommendations for future research. Findings from this study can assist the general aviation community in gaining a greater understanding of how collegiate aviation students perceive, process, and manage the risk of fatigue in aviation.

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Erik Levin, 18 S 4th Street Apt 23, Lafayette, IN 47901. Contact: elevin@purdue.edu

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