Analysis of Commute Times and Neurobehavioral Performance Capacity in Aviation Cabin Crew
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OKLAHOMA CITY OK CIVIL AEROSPACE MEDICAL INST
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Fatigue-induced impairments in neurobehavioral performance capacity may compromise safety in 24-hr operational environments, and a potential contributing factor of special interest in commercial aviation is the influence of commute times prior to reporting for duty. However, no systematic field data exist regarding actual commute times in commercial aviation or the relationship between commute times and objective neurobehavioral performance capacity. To address these issues, the present study analyzed data from 807 one-way commute episodes and corresponding performances on standardized 5-min Psychomotor Vigilance Test PVT sessions by 160 active cabin crew from the 2009-2010 US Civil Aerospace Medical Institute-sponsored Flight Attendant Field Study Roma et al., 2010. All eligible pre-work commute events were categorized as commutes originating from home at the start of a work trip Home, n444 or commutes while away on a work trip Trip, n363. Commute times from home were more widely distributed and positively skewed than commute times during a trip, and a univariate Analysis of Covariance ANCOVA controlling for reserve status, gender, and age confirmed that Home commutes were significantly longer than Trip commutes meanSEM 813 vs. 313 min, p.001. Next, we utilized separate ANCOVAs as above to examine commute times based on Carrier Type Network, Low-Cost, Regional, Seniority Senior, Mid, Junior, and Flight Operations Domestic, International. Crew working for Network carriers had the longest Home and Trip commutes, although this effect was an artifact of Flight Operations, as follow-up analyses of domestic-only crew revealed no differences in commute times. Analysis of Seniority revealed no differences in Home commutes however, Trip commutes of Mid and Junior level crew 332 and 342 min, respectively were significantly longer than those of their Senior colleagues 233 min, ps.01.
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