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Pilot behaviors in the face of adverse weather: A new look at an old problem.
Aviat Space Environ Med. 2005 Jun; 76(6):552-9.AS

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Weather-related general aviation accidents remain one of the most significant causes for concern in aviation safety. Previous studies have typically compared accident and non-accident cases. In contrast, the current study does not concentrate on occurrence outcome. Instead, the emphasis is on the different behaviors that pilots exhibit in the face of adverse weather and, by inference, on the decision-making processes that underlie those behaviors.

METHODS

This study compares three weather-related behaviors that reflect different levels of risk: visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions ('VFR into IMC'); precautionary landing; and other significant weather avoidance actions. Occurrence data (n=491) were drawn from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau database of aviation occurrences, and included weather-related accidents, incidents, and 'normal operationsd.'

RESULTS

There were few significant differences between the three weather-related behavior groups in terms of pilot demographics, aircraft characteristics, geographic or environmental factors, or absolute flight distances. The pattern of relative flight distances (a psychological construct) was markedly different for the three groups, with pilots in the weather avoidance group being distinguished by taking timely action.

DISCUSSION

The relative distance results suggest that the mid-point of the flight can be a 'psychological turning point' for pilots, irrespective of the absolute flight distance involved. Hence, pilots' behavior was sometimes influenced by psychological factors not related to any particular operational aspect of the flight. The results of the weather avoidance group indicate that a safe pilot is a proactive pilot. Dealing with adverse weather is not a one-off decision but a continually evolving process. This aspect is discussed in terms of the concept of 'mindfulness'.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Canberra, Australia. richard.batt@atsb.gov.auNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

15945399

Citation

Batt, Richard, and David O'Hare. "Pilot Behaviors in the Face of Adverse Weather: a New Look at an Old Problem." Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, vol. 76, no. 6, 2005, pp. 552-9.
Batt R, O'Hare D. Pilot behaviors in the face of adverse weather: A new look at an old problem. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2005;76(6):552-9.
Batt, R., & O'Hare, D. (2005). Pilot behaviors in the face of adverse weather: A new look at an old problem. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 76(6), 552-9.
Batt R, O'Hare D. Pilot Behaviors in the Face of Adverse Weather: a New Look at an Old Problem. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2005;76(6):552-9. PubMed PMID: 15945399.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Pilot behaviors in the face of adverse weather: A new look at an old problem. AU - Batt,Richard, AU - O'Hare,David, PY - 2005/6/11/pubmed PY - 2005/9/10/medline PY - 2005/6/11/entrez SP - 552 EP - 9 JF - Aviation, space, and environmental medicine JO - Aviat Space Environ Med VL - 76 IS - 6 N2 - INTRODUCTION: Weather-related general aviation accidents remain one of the most significant causes for concern in aviation safety. Previous studies have typically compared accident and non-accident cases. In contrast, the current study does not concentrate on occurrence outcome. Instead, the emphasis is on the different behaviors that pilots exhibit in the face of adverse weather and, by inference, on the decision-making processes that underlie those behaviors. METHODS: This study compares three weather-related behaviors that reflect different levels of risk: visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions ('VFR into IMC'); precautionary landing; and other significant weather avoidance actions. Occurrence data (n=491) were drawn from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau database of aviation occurrences, and included weather-related accidents, incidents, and 'normal operationsd.' RESULTS: There were few significant differences between the three weather-related behavior groups in terms of pilot demographics, aircraft characteristics, geographic or environmental factors, or absolute flight distances. The pattern of relative flight distances (a psychological construct) was markedly different for the three groups, with pilots in the weather avoidance group being distinguished by taking timely action. DISCUSSION: The relative distance results suggest that the mid-point of the flight can be a 'psychological turning point' for pilots, irrespective of the absolute flight distance involved. Hence, pilots' behavior was sometimes influenced by psychological factors not related to any particular operational aspect of the flight. The results of the weather avoidance group indicate that a safe pilot is a proactive pilot. Dealing with adverse weather is not a one-off decision but a continually evolving process. This aspect is discussed in terms of the concept of 'mindfulness'. SN - 0095-6562 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/15945399/Pilot_behaviors_in_the_face_of_adverse_weather:_A_new_look_at_an_old_problem_ L2 - https://www.ingentaconnect.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0095-6562&volume=76&issue=6&spage=552&aulast=Batt DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -