Prediction of situational awareness in F-15 pilots.Int J Aviat Psychol. 1996; 6(1):21-41.IJ
Situational awareness (SA) is a skill often deemed essential to pilot performance in both combat and noncombat flying. A study was conducted to determine if SA in U.S. Air Force F-15 pilots could be predicted. The participants were 171 active duty F-15 A/C pilots who completed a test battery representative of various psychological constructs proposed or demonstrated to be valid for the prediction of performance in a wide variety of military and civilian jobs. These predictors encompassed measures of cognitive ability, psychomotor ability, and personality. Supervisor and peer ratings of SA were collected. Supervisors and peers showed substantial agreement on the SA ratings of the pilots. The first unrotated principle component extracted from the supervisor and peer ratings accounted for 92.5% of the variability of ratings. The unrotated first principal component served as the SA criterion. Flying experience measured in number of F-15 hours was the best predictor of SA. After controlling for the effects of F-15 flying hours, the measures of general cognitive ability based on working memory, spatial reasoning, and divided attention were found to be predictive of SA. Psychomotor and personality measures were not predictive. With additional F-15 flying hours it is expected that pilots would improve their ratings of SA.