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An experimental sleep deprivation study has been launched at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in order to determine effects of varying degrees of sleepiness and alcohol on cognitive performance. A total of 48 subjects in cohorts of eight subjects each will stay for twelve consecutive days and nights in the AMSAN sleep laboratory in Cologne. During their stay in the laboratory, subjects are deprived of sleep in a successive manner totally and partially. In addition, on one day they are exposed to moderate alcohol levels. In between the interventions two recovery days are provided per design. A short test-battery of pilot’s and air traffic controller’s aptitudes is administered to the subjects including spatial orientation, perceptual speed and control of attention tests. In addition, self-concept of mental fitness is measured via a questionnaire prior to and after the cognitive tasks in order to examine whether potential performance decrements due to fatigue are recognized by the subjects. The study design and some preliminary data of the first two cohorts (N = 16) are presented in the paper.