On September 26, 2019, TNO and the Delft University of Technology organized an international symposium on 'Pilot Training for Startle and Surprise Management' for an audience of 80 participants. Startle and surprise of flight crew have been identified as a contributing factor in serious aviation accidents, often related to loss of control. In response to these accidents, aviation authorities are now recommending to address startle and surprise in pilot training. However, it is not entirely clear how this could be done. The objective of this symposium was to bring together experts from aviation and other domains to discuss possible training interventions aimed at improving resilience against the effects of startle and surprise.
Keynote speaker Randy Mumaw (San José State University) analyzed various flight safety events where surprise was not resolved by the crew. Jon Dunn (former RAF pilot) shared a personal experience with a highly startling event in-flight. Annemarie Landman (TNO/Delft University of Technology) gave an overview of her PhD research on startle and surprise management, resulting in recommendations to increase the variability of pilot training and practicing a “de-startle” method. Michel Masson (EASA) provided background on EASA’s research study ‘Startle Effect Management’. Jeroen van Rooy (KLM) and Christian Sörensen (Luxair) discussed how startle management training has been implemented in their airlines. Erik van der Pluym (IDT) compared the startle response with a ‘brain stall’. Mark Greenfield (Ultimate High) explained the benefits of on-aircraft training. Mark Wentink (Desdemona BV) presented the upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) in the Desdemona simulator. Vana Hutter (Free University, Amsterdam) showed how the stress resilience of police officers and prison guards is being assessed by means of reality-based training. Femke Dijkstra (Free University, Amsterdam) discussed how stress is dealt with in the emergency room. Finally, Esther Oprins (TNO) spoke about TNO research to determine the optimal refresher rate of Helicopter Underwater Egress Training (HUET).
Dr. Eric Groen (TNO)