Cassie Hilditch Studies Pilots’ Fatigue During Pandemic

by | Jun 23, 2022 | Spartan Spotlight

Cassie Hilditch

Cassie Hilditch studied the impact of COVID-19 on commercial airline pilots. Photo courtesy of Cassie Hilditch.

Cassie Hilditch, senior research associate for the SJSU Research Foundation* and contractor for the Fatigue Countermeasures Lab at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, and Erin Flynn-Evans, Director of the Fatigue Countermeasures Lab, recently conducted a study examining how the pandemic impacted schedules, fatigue and sleep in U.S. commercial pilots. The paper, entitled “Fatigue, Schedules, Sleep, and Sleepiness in U.S. Commercial Pilots During COVID-19,” was published in the May issue of Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance.

Hilditch says the study’s findings are important to consider as the aviation industry returns to full service. The pilots surveyed for the study reported feeling sleepier on days off and in-flight during the pandemic, citing a number of contributory factors, such as limited access to nutritional food during layovers and duty days, and decreased access to exercise facilities during layovers.

In a Feb. 2021 scholar spotlight, Hilditch says that her research goals are “to improve the sleep, alertness and performance of aviators.” For a list of Hilditch’s publications in this area, visit the Human Systems Integration Division website.

*As an integral part of the Division of Research and Innovation, the SJSU Research Foundation provides administrative and business support to the campus research enterprise.

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