Crew Factors in Flight Operations VI: Psychophysiological Responses to Helicopter Operations
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION MOFFETT FIELD CA AMES RESEARCH CENTER
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Thirty-two helicopter pilots were studied before, during, and after 4-5 day trips providing support services from Aberdeen, Scotland, to rigs in the North Sea oil fields. Early on-duty times obliged subjects to wake up 1.5 hours earlier on trip days than on pretrip days. Consequently, they slept nearly an hour less per night on trips. They reported more fatigue on posttrip days than on pretrip days, suggesting a cumulative effect of duty-related activities and sleep loss. Fatigue and negative affect were higher, and activation lower, by the end of trip days than by the end of pretrip days. The earlier a subject went on duty, the lower his activation by the end of the day. Caffeine consumption increased 42 on trip days. The incidence of headache doubled, of back pain increased twelve fold, and of burning eyes quadrupled. In the aircraft studied, thermal discomfort and high vibration levels were common. The longer pilots remained on duty, the more negative their mood became.
- Stress Physiology