Document Type


Publication Date





Several checklist-based methods have been proposed to help pilots manage startle in unexpected situations. In the current experiment, we tested how pilots reacted to using such a method, which featured the mnemonic COOL: Calm down – Observe – Outline – Lead. Using a motion-based simulator outfitted with a non-linear aerodynamic model of a small twin-propeller aircraft, twelve pilots practiced using the COOL method before performing four test scenarios involving startling events. Application of the full method in the test scenarios was high (90-100%), and pilots rated the method on average as useful (4 on a 1-5 point Likert scale). The first two steps of the method were seen as the “core” of the method. However, pilots also displayed difficulty with prioritizing dealing with immediate threats over executing the method. The results are promising, but they also warn us to be cautious when introducing a startle management method.