John M Miller
Died in June 2008 aged 102
Still flying aged 101
Strength and range of movements
Posture and balance
Sleep regulation / prostate problems
Lose about 20 % of strength
Older workers can do the same tasks but they may be working closer to their maximum.
Hydraulics failure ?
Asymmetric flying ?
Loss of flexibility such as reduced neck motion
More difficult to maintain good posture and balance
Solution is to pay attention to cockpit comfort and general ergonomics
Affects both length and quality
Disruptions are frequent
& more noticeable
More affected by light and noise
More time between extended shifts
Awareness of issue & effects of fatigue
Cockpit temperature control
Keep tasks interesting
Visual acuity both near (Presbyopia) and distance
Changes more obvious when combined with poor lighting and glare
Unable to hear higher frequencies –
Presbycusis and NIHL
Difficult to pick out one voice or sound in a noisy environment
Can affect how verbal instructions are heard
Fluid intelligence declines inductive reasoning, selective attention, dual task activities, vigilance and information processing.
“Crystallised” intelligence, verbal tasks and vocabulary remains the same or improves.
Evidence for Age Related Pilot Performance
No good accident data to support age limit
Sudden incapacitation remains unlikely and is mitigated by presence of co-pilot
No clear relationship between age, cognitive function and pilot performance
“On viewing the existing evidence, the AMA concludes there is insufficient medical evidence to support restriction of pilot certification based on age alone”.
Current International Situation
Move from 60 y – 65 y old limits for ATPL
What Can You Do as the Flying Instructor /
Flight Examiner ?
Look for Problems with:
Strength & Mobility
Ability to operate controls etc during an emergency – Hydraulic failure
Ability to maintain a good lookout
Able to read instruments and charts and observe objects in conditions of glare or reduced contrast sensitivity.
Carries and uses spectacles if necessary
Able to hear your instructions and accurately interpret ATC and comms from other aircraft
Ability to multi-task, cope with emergencies and problem solve whilst performing pilot duties
– Switzerland – 11’000 ft