chapter  [16]
14 Pages

Cognitive Ability Determinants of Elite Pilot Performance

ByDavid O’hare

The concept of situational awareness (SA) has excited much interest and debate, as reflected in a recent special issue of Human Factors. This chapter provides evidence that the WOMBAT test measures an underlying ability associated with exceptional piloting skill. The WOMBAT Situational Awareness and Stress Tolerance Test was designed to measure an individual's ability to "scan multiple information sources, evaluate alternatives, establish priorities, and select and work on the task that has the highest priority at the moment". Elite pilots with extensive experience and demonstrated superior skills in soaring competitions performed best on the WOMBAT test. Elite pilots who have shown superior abilities in competition or test flying obtain higher WOMBAT scores than other similarly experienced pilots. General cognitive ability was defined as the common variance among four cognitive tests that best predicted SA. Ree M. J. and Caretta T. R. have claimed that any measurement of cognitive functioning is inevitably a measure of general cognitive ability or Spearman's g.