Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research


Willem J. Homan






Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


This paper provides a selective examination of the current stress management literature and its practices. The author introduces strategies that can be utilized by commercial pilots to handle stressful events in the often-challenging flight environment and establishes a foundation for further empirical research in the area of human stress control in aviation settings. Stress management techniques adopted from sport psychology and management training programs are reviewed. First, stress and distress are defined and the physical, physiological, and emotional responses to stress are discussed. This is followed by an overview of the biology of stress. Next, traditional forms of stress avoidance are examined and the concept of stress hardiness is identified. A holistic management model, adapted to the aviation environment, is proposed to position stress resistance training within the context of the overall stress experience. Finally, a support program, the Air Line Pilots Association's Critical Incident Response Program, which assists commercial pilots who face emotional work-related traumas, is discussed.





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