Title: The influence of cockpit solar loading on offshore pilot cognitive performance

Authors: Michael J. Taber

Addresses: N2M Consulting Inc., 4 Rodman Hall Drive, St. Catharines, ON, L2S 1P2, Canada

Abstract: The goal of this research was to develop greater understanding of how environmental factors such as passive heat stress (through cockpit solar loading) might influence performance of offshore helicopter pilots who are completing simulated in-flight emergencies. Real-time physiological data such as heart rate, respiration, skin temperature, and eye tracking were used as objective quantitative measures to contextualise performance based on realistic environmental conditions. Results indicated a significant difference in skin temperature (Tskin) when comparing baseline (denoted as normal training conditions in this study) and testing completed after being exposed to passive heating for 90 minutes in 30°C ambient air temperature. Results also indicate that there were significantly higher numbers of fixations and increased index of cognitive activity (ICA) after passive heating. It is recommended that pilots are provided the opportunity to complete flight simulator training/assessment while wearing full flight ensemble (e.g., immersion suit, gloves, life vest, helmet/headset, etc…).

Keywords: passive heat exposure; index of cognitive activity; ICA emergency response.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2020.110092

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2020 Vol.7 No.3, pp.260 - 281

Received: 25 Apr 2020
Accepted: 30 Jun 2020

Published online: 23 Sep 2020 *

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