Development of a Standardized Performance Test Battery for Certification of Aeromedical Drugs
Small Business Information
4130 Linden Avenue, Suite 235, Dayton, OH, 45432
Robert D. O'donnell, Ph.d
AbstractThe possibility of performance decrement due to a pilot's use of therapeutic chemicals, both prescription and over-the-counter, is a continuing concern of aerospace medicine. This concern is aggravated in advanced aircraft, since even low levels of performance decrement on the part of the pilot can have catastrophic consequences. Yet, approaches to measuring the safety of such chemicals focus on medical concerns, and usually rely on indirect evidence of their performance effects. This proposal details and demonstrates an objective assessment system which simplifies and standardizes current approaches. The system combines current laboratory performance assessment techniques (using synthetic tasks embedded in part-task simulations), with advanced computer modeling to provide operationally meaningful estimates of the effect of a chemical agent on the pilot. Specifically, a test battery will be designed to probe pilot-relevant skills, and laboratory protocols for utilizing the battery under the physical stresses of flight (heat, vibration, fatigue, high-G, etc.) will be defined. Test data will be entered into computer simulation models of aircraft systems and missions to calculate real-world effects of any observed performance decrement. Output from these simulations will permit the aerospace physician to make objective, informed decisions about the safety of any therapeutic agent in the flight environment.
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