Date of Award

Fall 2005

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Blickensderfer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Christina Frederick-Recascino, PhD

Committee Member

Don Hunt, MS


This study investigated the relationship between age and the perception of competence of pilots by the traveling public. Scenarios were utilized that depicted an airline captain successfully landing an airplane amidst adverse conditions. Scenarios varied only by the age of the Captain: Young, Old, or Unspecified Age and that the Young and Old scenarios included a photo of the captain. Perceived effectiveness, competence, avoidance, blame, and attribution as depicted by the Captain's performance in the scenario were assessed by 180 participants in three age groups (18-34, 35-55, and 56 <). Results showed that pilot age is a factor in perceived competence of pilots as well as participant age.