Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


A cross-sectional quasi- mixed-method approach was used to determine the relationships between safety culture perceptions and safety reporting behavior among flight students with and without certified flight instructor (CFI) ratings. Respondents (n=259) were recruited from five collegiate aviation programs in the US and took part in the study. Survey Items adopted from the Collegiate Aviation Perception of Safety Culture Assessment Survey (CAPSCAS) were validated using factor analysis analyzed for reliability before use in the study. Researchers sought to find out if the safety reporting behavior (reporting frequency) of respondents could be predicted from their safety culture perceptions. Pearson’s Bivariate Correlation, Multiple Regressions, independent T-test of means, and Analysis of Covariance were used for data analyses. The findings indicated that the age of respondents, perceptions on the variables Reporting System and Safety Fundamentals were statistically significant predictors of safety reporting behavior. Additionally, there was no significant statistical difference in the mean safety reporting frequency between respondents with and without CFI ratings. A major theme from the qualitative part of the study was pressure to fly when conditions were considered unsafe, in order to meet ground course targets. These respondents felt that such pressures placed them under duress to fly when not fully fit psychologically, physiologically, and in adverse weather conditions. The inclusion of the collegiate program’s safety reporting process and procedures in a related academic course like Safety Management Systems (SMS) was found to be very beneficial in some collegiate programs. Researchers of this study recommend an extension of safety awareness programs to include all line personnel, students, and management involved in collegiate aviation programs. The awareness program must entail the process and procedures for effective safety reporting. Additionally, further validation of the CAPSCAS should be conducted. Qualitative approaches can be effectively utilized to gain a clearer understanding of safety culture perceptions, specifically, how age influences safety reporting behavior. Furthermore, analysis of safety culture perceptions among groups such as flight program management personnel and flight students can be compared and contrasted. These recommendations may assist the collegiate aviation community to enhance a positive organizational safety culture.