PILOTS PERFORMANCE AND FLIGHT SAFETY: FLIGHT PHYSIOLOGY IN UNPRESSURIZED AIRCRAFT CABINS

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Luís Patrão
Sara Zorro
André Marques
Ana Coelho
Jorge Silva

Keywords

light aviation, psychophysiological parameters, flight conditions, monitoring system, cerebral oximetry, stress

Abstract

Light aviation pilots are exposed to many different environmental situations due to the unpressurised and unacclimatised aircraft cabins. Literature review suggests that a significant number of incidents and fatalities occurring within this type of aviation are related to human factor. This could be a worrying situation because of various psychophysiological reactions shown by different pilots under the same flight conditions. This study analyses the influence of the flight environmental conditions and the pilot’s psychophysiological parameters when performing tasks, and different flight situations, taking some of their everyday habits into consideration. A portable, ergonomic monitoring system was built for the purpose. This system records cerebral oximetry and atmospheric pressure in order to correlate the influence of altitude with the pilot’s physiological response in different stages of the flight. It was observed that physiological reactions such as hypoxia and stress, combined with the environmental conditions, can influence the pilot’s cognitive response.

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