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A method has been found for assessing an aircraft approach to landing on a shipboard landing surface. The method includes a comparison of an identified aircraft performance with the mean or median of a baseline data set. The baseline data set is assembled from a multiplicity of actual approaches to landing data that are selected for relevance and then statistically evaluated. A high data recording rate captures the pilot's control inputs and allows evaluation of the pilot's manual efficiency of input to controls. The method is particularly useful to evaluate performance under conditions in which evaluation by human observation is limited or evaluation against guidelines produces less meaningful results.