Pilots Sought for Cognitive Tests at AirVenture

Project goal is establishing baselines for reinstating certificates.

Brain chart

Brain chart

Do you consider yourself mentally healthy? At least, for a pilot? The FAA is asking for volunteer GA pilots for confidential testing of cognitive skills during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The purpose is to establish baseline readings of brain-function data among healthy pilots so the agency can evaluate those recovering from brain injuries.

The FAA assures volunteers for the CogScreen-AE program that they will only view the group results, and pilots’ individual “scores” will remain completely confidential. The tests involve a series of computerized cognitive tasks. CogScreen has previously been used to detect the effects of medications on brain functions. It was initially designed for the FAA to detect subtle changes in cognitive functioning: “Changes which left unnoticed may result in poor pilot judgment or slow reaction time in critical operational situations,” according to an overview of the program on the CogScreen website.

Those elements are not part of the Oshkosh testing, however. The CogScreen-AE program is strictly about establishing neuro-cognitive baseline statistics “for use in the medical re-certification evaluation of pilots with known or suspected neurological and/or psychiatric conditions.” The overview continues: “CogScreen-AE is not a test of aviation knowledge or flying skills, but rather a measure of the underlying perceptual cognitive and information processing abilities associated with flying.”

Volunteers can sign up at the FAA Safety Center on the AirVenture site at Wittman Field in Oshkosh. They will receive a mug for their participation, and are eligible for drawings for Amazon gift cards.

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