Presenter Email

nathanwray187@gmail.com

Location

Jim W. Henderson Administration & Welcome Center (Bldg. #602)

Start Date

16-8-2017 8:15 AM

End Date

16-8-2017 9:45 AM

Submission Type

Presentation

Topic Area

Human factors

Keywords

decision making, personal minimums, instrument approach, aviation

Abstract

Adverse weather conditions remain a leading contributing factor in general aviation accidents. In compromising situations, such as severe weather, pilots continue to make decisions, which endanger themselves, passengers, and the aircraft. Although technology and training have lowered the risks associated with poor decision making by aviators, they are often still faced with scenarios requiring split second judgments. A countermeasure to these risks is the use of personal weather minimums by pilots. The purpose of this study was to examine pilot’s decision-making and performance, while flying an instrument approach, under extreme conditions of low visibility and ceiling as based on their stated personal minimums. A sample of 35 flight students with instrument ratings was recruited from a large university flight program located in the southeastern part of the United States. Participants were asked a series of pre-test questions, including their personal weather minimums, and then flew an ILS instrument approach on an Elite-1000 flight simulator at the subject university. The findings indicate approximately eighty percent of participants, on average, descended nearly two-hundred feet below their stated personal minimums before aborting the approach. Furthermore, forty percent of them also flew twenty-five feet below the federal requirement (200 feet above ground level) before aborting the approach. These results are pertinent to advance our understanding of the many different variables affecting pilot’s decision making. Understanding these outcomes will progress our initiatives to ensure safer air travel, while improving pilot’s competence and their passenger’s confidence.

1087 Walters, Milner et al..pptx (2239 kB)
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Aug 16th, 8:15 AM Aug 16th, 9:45 AM

A Preliminary Comparison of Pilots' Weather Minimums and Actual Decision-Making

Jim W. Henderson Administration & Welcome Center (Bldg. #602)

Adverse weather conditions remain a leading contributing factor in general aviation accidents. In compromising situations, such as severe weather, pilots continue to make decisions, which endanger themselves, passengers, and the aircraft. Although technology and training have lowered the risks associated with poor decision making by aviators, they are often still faced with scenarios requiring split second judgments. A countermeasure to these risks is the use of personal weather minimums by pilots. The purpose of this study was to examine pilot’s decision-making and performance, while flying an instrument approach, under extreme conditions of low visibility and ceiling as based on their stated personal minimums. A sample of 35 flight students with instrument ratings was recruited from a large university flight program located in the southeastern part of the United States. Participants were asked a series of pre-test questions, including their personal weather minimums, and then flew an ILS instrument approach on an Elite-1000 flight simulator at the subject university. The findings indicate approximately eighty percent of participants, on average, descended nearly two-hundred feet below their stated personal minimums before aborting the approach. Furthermore, forty percent of them also flew twenty-five feet below the federal requirement (200 feet above ground level) before aborting the approach. These results are pertinent to advance our understanding of the many different variables affecting pilot’s decision making. Understanding these outcomes will progress our initiatives to ensure safer air travel, while improving pilot’s competence and their passenger’s confidence.

 

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