FAA Seeking Pilots for Cognitive Study at Sun ’n Fun

The agency is paying 260 pilots to participate as part of its evaluation of computerized tests measuring mental performance.

The 2024 Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo runs from April 9-14 at the Lakeland Linder International Airport in central Florida. [Photo: Stephen Yeates]

Would you like to spend part of Sun ’n Fun getting paid to take part in a research project to measure cognitive function in the aviator population?

The FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), which is the agency's wing for medical certification, research, education, and occupational health, is looking for 260 pilots to help establish a baseline of knowledge. A similar call to action was made at the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last year and several hundred pilots participated.

The study will take place during the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo on April 9-4 in Lakeland, Florida.

The purpose of the study, according to the FAA, is to evaluate the use of computerized cognitive tests as a screening tool for pilots who may have a medical condition that results in cognitive impairment, such as head injury, stroke, or reaction to certain medications, and wish to return to flight or duty status.

The selected volunteer pilots take four hours of computerized tests designed to measure pilot performance during tasks involving working memory, attention, mental rotation, and multitasking.

In order to participate, volunteers must hold a valid medical certificate and have flown at least once in the previous six months in either an aircraft or simulator. Volunteers must submit an application to be part of the study.

How to Apply

The FAA said that the identity of the aviators taking the tests will not be released to the agency, and there will be no impact on the participant pilot’s medical status.

The agency is still recruiting pilots 60 and older with an FAA Class I or II medical certificate and pilots 25 and older with an FAA Class III medical certificate. 

The pay is $300 to $500 depending on the level of medical certification. Payment comes upon completion of the tests.

If selected, you can expect a follow-up email or phone call from a third-party contractor to confirm your time slot. 

Pilots interested in participating in the study may find more information here.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter