Aviation Medical Examiner Office-Based Pilot Functional Capability Assessment for Certification

The Aviation Medical Examiner evaluates a pilot to ascertain his/her/their health state and exercises subject matter expertise, aided by policy guidance, to determine the pilot’s ability to safely perform aviation duties and arrive at a medical certification decision. In the occupational medicine domain, the gold standard for making similar decisions is the functional assessment – i.e., can the individual demonstrate the ability to perform job essential tasks. At present, such an assessment for a pilot involves an observed live or simulated flight. Such an approach is not practical from a time, cost, and resource perspective for general application in aeromedical certification. The purpose of this project is to develop the ability to assess objectively a pilot’s ability to perform certain piloting tasks, taking into consideration health-related factors, in the Aviation Medical Examiner’s office setting. The research approach will leverage General Systems Performance Theory to define a set of pilot basic performance resources and associated resource availability measures; define a representative pilot high level task and associated task performance measures; empirically understand the relationship between resource availability and high level task performance in a flight simulator; and derive a set of minimum performance resource availabilities. A synthetic screening task will then be developed to efficiently assess performance resource availabilities relative to the minimums. The validity of the synthetic task will be subsequently validated and performance specifications developed for technology transition and commercialization.