Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Safety Science


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Gary Northam, Ph.D

First Committee Member

Brian Peacock, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Dennis Lessard


Ethical issues are becoming more commonplace in society today and while most industries are taking steps to improve poor ethical decisions through ethics education, aviation is lagging behind in both understanding of ethical issues inherent to the industry and ethics education. In this study three groups of pilots (students, instructors, and faculty) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are examined in an effort to determine moral development level in terms of P score on the Defining Issues Test 2 (DIT2) and two domain specific additional questions. It was hypothesized that differences would be found between the groups and that the moral development score would increase from students, through instructor pilots to faculty. This was found to be the case, with significance shown (p<0.10) with the Student and Faculty groups. The Instructor pilots scored marginally lower than expected in the DIT2 questions and this may be due to the lack of formal ethics training and/or the more technical/regulatory focus in aviation. The Instructor pilots scored higher than expected in the additional questions and this may be due to the dilemmas being directed towards topics directly related to their jobs.