Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research






Increasing the number of and women pilots to meet future needs will require recruitment efforts based on an understanding of factors affecting the choice to be a professional pilot. This study integrated the factors that might positively or negatively influence men and women choosing to become professional pilots using force-field analysis. In addition, it investigated whether the factors differ for women and men. Random samples of 300 female and 300 male professional pilots were sent a brainstormed list of 70 factors that might influence the choice to be a pilot. The list was developed from the literature, focus groups and aviation experts. Subjects rated each factor in terms of whether it was a positive or negative influence and its strength. The overall response rate was 68%. Twenty of the factors were reported as important to both men and women. Only one factor, cost of training, was seen as a negative by both groups. Analyses of the 20 factors revealed that some of them are more important to men, while others are more important to women. Men appear to be influenced most by monetary reward, the technical and scientific nature of the occupation, the military career potential, and the glamour and mystique of flying. Additionally, men found having same gender teachers and mentors more important than women. Women found factors such as exposure to and desire to choose a non-traditional work role, opposite gender mentors and role models, desire for a challenging career, and to prove their personal abilities as more positive factors than men. Women also saw possibilities of travel and flight instructor encouragement as more important factors.



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