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Daytona Beach


Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology

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We examined the effect that a fleet exercise has on the work/rest patterns, fatigue, and cognitive performance of S-3 aviators. For 10 days during Fleet Exercise 1992, 21 S-3 aviators from CARRIER AIR WING SEVENTEEN (CVW-17) aboard USS SARATOGA (CV-60) completed detailed daily-activity logs while performing their usual tasks. Subjective measures of fatigue, quality of rest, and sleep need were also collected. A subset of eight aviators completed a brief battery of computer tasks as soon before flying as possible and again after flight debrief. Results indicated that, although the fleet exercise appeared to be below average in difficulty, there were statistically significant performance changes from pre- to post-flight on a fatigue-sensitive reaction time task. Average sleep onset was delayed over the course of the fleet exercise, peaking at past 0300 by day 8. A continuation of this pattern could lead to circadian desynchrony and serious sleep problems. Responses to questions on fatigue, sleep need, and readiness to fly a strike mission were consistent with circadian factors. Further research in this area is needed to determine the magnitude and extent of this problem. We recommend that additional data be collected on a variety of fleet exercises with particular effort made to include S-3 squadrons affected by the reductions in manning and increased tasking. The additional data will provide an objective means of fully evaluating the impact of these operational changes on the S-3 community.


Pensacola, FL

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AD-A265 807. NAMRL-1382. Dr. Shappell was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this report was published.