Defining and measuring the "right stuff": neuropsychiatrically enhanced flight screening (N-EFS).Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995 Oct; 66(10):951-6.AS
United States Air Force (USAF) commanders wish to make better pilot-selection and cockpit-assignment decisions. Also, some pilots will sustain head injuries that will affect their flying careers. The complex and unforgiving nature of aviation demands a conservative approach to occupational return after neurological insult. Therefore, a neuropsychological assessment is required to return to flying. The lack of pre-injury neuropsychological data, however, hinders accurate assessment of post-injury functioning.
a) Psychological data may improve the pilot selection and assignment processes as military resources dwindle; and b) baseline intellectual/cognitive data may support the scientific basis of aeromedical decision-making.
Neuropsychiatrically Enhanced Flight Screening (N-EFS) attempts to validate the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery (MAB), CogScreen, Revised NEO-PI (NEO-PI-R), and Personal Characteristics Inventory (PCI) for pilot selection and cockpit assignment. N-EFS also measures baseline intelligence (using the MAB) and cognitive functioning (using the CogScreen) for comparison purposes if a future medical flying waiver is needed after neurological insult. These assessments will compare the aviator's postinjury functioning to a personal intellectual functioning baseline captured at entry into aviation training.
N-EFS students are scoring from below average to very superior in intellectual assessment. Very preliminary personality testing results suggest few significant differences between male and female student pilots, with high extraversion being the most striking personality characteristic.
The wide range of intellectual functioning in pilot candidates argues for baseline data collection to improve future aeromedical decisions.