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FAA seeks pilots for cognitive tests

Gift certificates offered during AirVenture

The FAA is seeking pilots willing to participate in a medical research study the agency is conducting during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin later this month.

Photo by David Tulis.

The study is part of a program to collect normative data from pilots that the FAA will use in the recertification process for pilots who are taking certain prescription medications or who have experienced medical problems such as strokes and head injuries.

The agency said the process includes two computerized tests that focus on several factors including memory, attention, and multitasking. The full test, which includes breaks, takes four hours.

The FAA will pay participating pilots with gift cards valued between $300 and $500. The amount varies with the participants' medical privileges on the day of the study. Those with first class medical certificates will receive $500, with $400 for second class, and $300 for third class certificate holders. The FAA said it based the amounts “on reimbursement rates used in similar research” and “salary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

To be eligible for testing, pilots must have flown or logged time in a simulator at least once during the past six months. Only pilots who are at least 25 years old and hold a third class medical certificate or are 60 or older with a first or second class certificate are eligible for testing. Pilots who have taken the test before are not eligible to take it again. The FAA conducted similar tests earlier this year during the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida.

The FAA said it plans to test 960 pilots and has so far collected data from 780. Results of the tests will not become part of participating pilots’ certification records or affect their current or future FAA medical class status, the agency said.

Jonathan Welsh
Jonathan Welsh
Digital Media Content Producer
Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot, career journalist and lifelong aviation enthusiast who previously worked as a writer and editor with Flying Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.
Topics: Pilot Health and Medical Certification

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