The effects of safety information on flight students' aeronautical decision making

Jang Ryong Lee, Purdue University


The purpose of this investigation was to examine whether safety information has a beneficial effect on aeronautical decision making for students in a collegiate flight environment. Studies have reported the importance of pilot decision making and its correlation with safe flight. Researchers suggest a safety information system that collects, analyzes, and disseminates information from incidents and near-misses is an important tool to improve the intelligence and readiness of pilots. The Aircraft Discrepancy Analysis Metrics (ADAM) developed by Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue University is one such instrument. The target population of this study was students in initial flight training at Purdue University. Participants were recruited from target population volunteers. They were randomly selected from the volunteer pool, and assigned to two groups. One group of participants was periodically informed of safety information (updated ADAM) while the other group of participants was not. Several research questions were formulated, and flight students' adherence to a recommended solution during adverse flying situations, recognition time and response time to abnormal aircraft conditions, and appropriateness of responses to those abnormal aircraft conditions were monitored to answer the research questions. The Situational Judgment Test (SJT) developed by the FAA to assess general aviation pilots' decision making skills and a Frasca 141 simulator flight profile with four trigger events were used to measure flight students' performance in making decisions during critical flight safety situations. The data for recognition time, appropriateness of response, and response time were collected from Frasca 141 simulator flight tests, and the data for adherence to a recommended solution were collected from the SJT and analyzed using the SAS statistical software. The research findings suggested that the flight students who periodically reviewed ADAM information performed better in the four areas monitored during the study. It also suggested that these participants who periodically reviewed ADAM information made decisions closer to the experts' recommended solutions than before they started a periodic review of ADAM. Findings of this study suggest that flight students who periodically review ADAM safety information demonstrate a beneficial effect on their aeronautical decision making in critical flight safety situations.




Eiff, Purdue University.

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