Training Interventions for Managing Startle During Unexpected Critical Events
The prevalence of startle during unexpected critical events has been shown to adversely affect flight safety in a number of high profile accidents over recent years. Additionally, flight simulator startle experiments conducted by the authors, showed approximately one-third of pilots were significantly affected by startle during an instrument approach, leading to undesired aircraft states in a critical phase of flight. Training interventions for managing startle have been largely uncoordinated to date, however a holistic program of prevention and recovery training is proposed. Prevention strategies include improved training and attention in situational awareness skill sets, and particularly pilot monitoring skills, developing greater expectation and efficacy for managing unexpected critical events, and greater awareness of startle effects. Recovery strategies include more focus on evidence based training, improved training on avoidance, recognition and management of undesired aircraft states, and exposure to unexpected critical events during training. Adopting holistic training interventions for managing startle will have other benefits including improved threat and error management, and improved prevention of, and recovery from, undesired aircraft states.
Proceedings of the 66th International Air Safety Summit