Alcohol, age, and piloting: Judgment, mood, and actual performance

Daniel Morrow, Von Leirer, Jerome Yesavage, Jared Tinklenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have previously described acute and carry-over effects of alcohol on young and older pilots' performance. In the present paper we report the effects of alcohol and age on self-assessment of performance and mood in the same study. Young and older pilots flew in a simulator during an alcohol and placebo condition. In the alcohol condition, they flew after reaching. 04 g/dL (.04% BAL, after. 10% BAL, and then 2,4, 8,24, and 48 h after. 10% BAL (they flew at the same times in the placebo condition). They rated confidence in ability to fly, mood, alertness, and intoxication before each flight, and perceived workload and performance after each flight. As reported in Morrow et al., alcohol had both acute and carry-over effects for 8 h on actual flight performance, with greater acute impairment for older pilots. The present study reports that these older pilots tended to be more aware than the young pilots of acute and carry-over alcohol impairment out to 4 h. By 8 h, however, all pilots were unaware of impairment. Alcohol also had a biphasic effect on mood, which increased on the ascending limb and decreased on the descending limb of the BAL curve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-683
Number of pages15
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Alcohol
  • Judgment
  • Mood
  • Pilot performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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