Laboratory assessment of pilot performance using nonrated subjects at three alcohol dose levels

P. H. Henry, J. A. Flueck, M. C. Lancaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To evaluate the effects of drugs and environmental stresses on pilot psychomotor performance, an automated system was developed around a Link GAT 1 flight trainer. Performance was electronically scored during 1 hr simulations of cross country instrument flight, using special purpose analog and digital logic. The sensitivity of this system was assessed by observing the acute effects of 3 graded doses, 0.3, 0.6, and 0.9 gm/kg body weight, of ethyl alcohol on scored performance. Three separate experiments were conducted using a total of 22 male subjects, ages 21 to 29. Statistically significant performance decrements were observed at all 3 dose levels. These decrements were small at the low dose, showed a progressive increase with the moderate dose, and became substantial at the high dose. The corresponding indirectly measured blood alcohol levels (average of pre and posttask Breathalyzer samples) for these 3 doses were in the order of 25, 55, and 85 mg% respectively, levels well below those currently employed to define limits of legal intoxication in reference to automobile driving. Comparison tests conducted on 2 older pilot psychomotor tasks, the Multidimensional Pursuit Task (MDP) and Complex Coordinator (CC), gave fully comparable results.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAeromedical Reviews
StatePublished - 1974

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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