Date of Award

Fall 12-2022

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Safety Science


College of Aviation

Committee Chair

Brian Roggow

First Committee Member

Maxwell Fogleman

Second Committee Member

David Ryan

College Dean

Timothy Holt


The international and national authorities, manufacturers, and commercial airlines have invested extensively in-flight crew operational research and aircraft system development in preparation for ULH flights. Conversely, the progress on health and safety and its impact and standards has received limited attention in the industry. Though stringent medical certification requirements by international and national regulatory bodies ensure no deviance in operational safety, less emphasis has been put on other occupational factors that can impact the aircrew while operating these ULH routes.

The current studies on the topic are sparse and have only focused on factors such as fatigue, sleep loss, circadian rhythm, and alertness for pilots operating these routes. Concurrently, limited and inconsistent studies have focused on flight attendants' experiences of these factors while operating ULH flights. This thesis research will help determine various regulatory health and safety standards and best practices for aircrew operating ULH routes. The study also reviews the current state of health culture and investigates if it is practiced in the current aviation operational dynamic. Correspondingly, this study also intends to identify and address gaps in the current health and safety regulatory structure that can help form a well-controlled baseline knowledge.

Based on the literature on health and safety in aviation, an online survey was developed, which consisted of a mix of open-ended qualitative and close-ended quantitative questions. The sample for this research was drawn from a population of aircrew who currently operate ULH operations. The analysis of the survey data presented significantly different response experiences between pilots and flight attendants. Pilots reported a higher prevalence of cabin air quality and humidity, noise, and vibration concerning the cabin environment. In contrast, the flight attendant reported that in-flight rest facilities significantly affect their health while operating these routes. For in-flight job related, the pilot reported dehydration, improper diet, and lower back pain as the top three health-related factors. Conversely, the flight attendant reported dehydration, deep vein thrombosis, and neck pain as the top three health-related in-flight factors experienced on the ULH flight.

Further analysis of this study suggested that the regulatory authorities established very few specific regulations and advisory guidance concerning aircrew health and safety regulations for ULH operations. Most current regulations are prescribed for fatigue and its management, and only limited regulations have been established for other in-flight effects experienced by aircrew. Notably, most of these regulations are pilot-centric, and only a few specific regulations have been established for flight attendants. Due to the small sample size of this study, presenting any conclusion on health culture was challenging.

This study has identified that aviation regulators and operators should undertake additional research on a large scale to identify health and safety impact factors for aircrew operating these ULH routes. Lastly, aviation regulators must revise, address and improve many health and safety regulation areas pertaining to flight attendants.