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Volume

9

Issue

1

Publisher

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Abstract

Recently it was reported in the popular news media that 25 San Diego State University students were caught cheating on an ethics exam (Restine, 1999). Internet sites like will sell you a canned essay for $19.97 (Ware, 1999). The President, trying to escape responsibility for a tawdry affair, blatantly lies to the country on national television (Chen, 1998). As for aviation, imagine the following not-so-unrealistic scenarios involving airmen. The pilot of a Boeing 747 over the mid-Atlantic, with 400+ passengers on board, descends through an assigned altitude and narrowly misses another airliner flying below. The 747 crew, fearful of ramifications, remains silent about the mishap. The other airplane's crew is unaware of their narrow brush with death, and since there is no radar coverage over the mid- Atlantic, the incident goes unreported A young aspiring pilot surreptitiously adds some fictitious "Parker Pen" flight time in his logbook to obtain a job that requires more flight experience than he or she currently has. The rational conclusion to all these events is that we are descending to the depths of a valueless nation. Situational ethics and self-serving rationalizations of any despicable situation seem to be not only accepted but expected. While this atmosphere is tolerated in many areas of society, there are niches where public safety considerations make it imperative that the substandard conduct of individuals in the system be exposed and corrected. The field of aviation safety is a prime example.

DOI

http://doi.org/10.15394/JAAER.1999.1235

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