Recent experience and performance during a critical in-flight event

Mark W. Wiggins*, Nadya Yuris, Brett R. C. Molesworth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The aim of this study was to test, amongst less experienced pilots, the relationship between the recency of flight experience and performance during a critical in-flight event. It was hypothesised that, in response to an engine failure, recent flight experience would be associated with a superior level of aircraft control, decreased cognitive load, and a successful landing at an alternate destination. Pilots completed a simulated flight during which an engine failure occurred. The weather conditions and proximity to the alternate were designed to enable a power-off landing. The results revealed a relationship between recent flight experience and landing at the alternate, although no relationship was evident with aircraft control. Objective, rather than subjective levels of cognitive load tended to covary with landing successfully at the alternate. The outcomes provide support for the role of recent flight experience in enabling successful responses to critical in-flight events, particularly amongst less experienced pilots.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292–1299
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • critical in-flight events
  • decision-making
  • recency
  • skill decay


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