Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach


School of Graduate Studies

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date



The security of a commercial airline flight is the primary concern of all parties involved in the aviation industry. The policies and strategies of dealing with terrorist threats have evolved since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The current policy requires that the cockpit door be locked so that the hijackers have no access to the flight controls. A new method has been discussed whereby the pilots depressurize the cabin so as to eliminate the hijacking threat since all the cabin crew and passengers will be rendered unconscious. While there is a risk of possible negative impact on brain cells due to reduced oxygen, medical experts state that the short duration of cabin depressurization in order to mitigate a threat would cause almost no medical harm. 449 participants from the United States completed the study, wherein they were presented with one of two scenarios: a) the traditional scenario of preventing hijackers from accessing the flight controls, and b) an alternative scenario whereby the pilot depressurizes the cabin. The data analysis suggested that participants felt more negatively, and were less willing to fly aboard the cabin depressurization scenario, as compared to the current policy scenario. In addition, it was found the female participants were less willing to fly and felt more negatively about the cabin depressurization scenario as compared to their male counterparts. Lastly, the mediation analyses showed that affect completely mediated the relationship between the pilots’ actions and willingness to fly, suggesting that participants were basing their decisions on emotions.

Publication Title

Collegiate Aviation Review International


University Aviation Association

Additional Information

Dr. Winter was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was publisbed.