Competence in cognitive skills such as situation assessment and decision-making is difficult to assess through the analysis of technical skills in isolation. The present study sought to test a new methodology to identify the cognitive performance of operators. Forty-one general aviation pilots completed a series of tasks in a simulated flight that were designed to trigger the application of either lower-order (monitoring) or higher-order (decision-making) cognitive skills. The results revealed that, in comparison to the lowerorder task, higher-order tasks (low oil pressure and right magneto fail) were associated with significantly higher mean subjective cognitive complexity scores, a significantly higher mean range of gaze movement, a significantly higher proportion of short fixation durations (<150 ms), and a significantly lower proportion of long fixation durations (>600 ms). These results are discussed in terms of developing an assessment tool for the application of higher and lower-order cognitive skills.