Tracking-Task Performance during Heat Stress Simulating Cockpit Conditions in High-Performance Aircraft

Sarah A. Nunneley, Patrick J. Dowd, Loren G. Myhre, Richard F. Stribley, Richard C. McNee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Heat stress can be a significant problem in high-performance aircraft, where it has a measurable physiological impact on aircrew and may alter the Icarninc curve for novel tasks. In these experiments nine men were trained to plateau performance on a compensatory tracking tusk. They were then tested at the end of 2 h exposures to the following conditions (Tinfdb/Tinfwb, °C): Control (C) 25/ambient, Warm (W) 35/26 and Hot (H) 40/30. For W and H, globe temperature was raised to 12°C above Tinfdb by infrared lamps. While W was physiologically compensable. H was near the upper limit of tolerance, as shown by steadily rising heart rate. elevated rectal temperature and 1·4 kg mean weight loss. The simplest tracking task showed a small but statistically significant improvement in time on target with heat, while two more difficult tasks showed no change. Human operator modelling supported these findings. Discussion relates these results to actual cockpit conditions and the literature of performance in heat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-555
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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