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Aviation Psychology Research Paper


Depending on the new adventures and past experiences, the mental issues that pilots and their support team face before, during, and after flights are numerous; nonetheless, such issues are mostly psychological. Generally, the aviation psychology concepts are defined based on the context of discussion.

Aviation psychology studies the psychological behaviors of pilots and flight crews with the objective of establishing and embracing safe flights. Clinically, psychological health and stability is a critical provision for safe flights. Psychologically, pilots and flight crews need to be well equipped so as to avert the psychological challenges that might interfere with their performance while on a flight.

It is vital to assert that aviation psychologists must be well-informed in both psychology and aviation for successful flight missions. For instance, in the context of the U.S., aviation psychology remains largely as a socio-psychological operation or revolution that stipulates the disparities between personalities and work performance (Goeters 2004).

Therefore, this concept upholds the different perceptions that individuals develop value through distinct experiences and encounters. Furthermore, it also values the backgrounds of personalities emanating from racial, tribal, gender, sexual nature as well as the class disparities within the aviation industry (Bor & Hubbard 2006).

Aviation psychology in a broader context struggles to value the ideals regarding psychological steadiness, equity as well as liberty on which the fundamental human life and psychological concepts lie. Consequently, there has to be equal respect and regard to pilots and flight crews (Powell & Bartholomew 2003). This perhaps forms the principle pertinent to the psychological settlement and behavioral development.

Observably, the magnitude of this concept in various professions and other practices within the aviation remains unavoidable. Therefore, it is crucial to explain how aviation psychology impacts the performance of pilots and flight crews in order to enhance safety during flights

In regard to Aviation Psychology

Aviation psychology relates to aviation safety in numerous ways. Historically, aviation psychology was coined in 1940s (during WW II) to guarantee the safety of fighter planes. In fact, aviation psychology is mostly applicable during wartimes when fighter planes are flown viciously in the air. Pilots of such vessels require constant psychological attention so as to enhance their performance.

All aviation psychologists should observe the significance of psychological stability within their profession. Being sensitive to situations and noting the disparities that exist within different pilots and flight crews enable the professionals to act without any preconception based on incompetency (Lott, 2009). The basic principal towards fair psychological judgment and analysis relies on the ability of the dispenser to recognize and adopt the skill of aviation competency.

This observation greatly minimizes the ability of a aviation psychologist to make irrational decisions when dealing with diverse clients from different aviation backgrounds. Because of psychological torments, aviation psychologists have considered several factors when dealing with their clients including the personal issues, self-beliefs, as well flight cultures (Goeters 2004).

One of the aviation tragic accidents that led to the safety development in the aviation psychology is the March 27th 1977 Tenerife disaster. This dreadful incident remains the accident with the largest number of fatalities. In the accident, 583 people died instantly when a KLM Boeing 747 tried taking-off minus proper clearance.

It then collided viciously with Pan Am 747 at Los Rodeos Airport at Tenerife Island, Spain killing various personalities instantaneously. The whole incident is blamed on the pilot error, which could have resulted from psychological instability, anxiety, or mental concerns. Clinically, this supports the fact that aviation psychology is a critical provision in the field of health (Braisby & Gellatly, 2012).

It is aimed at enhancing the mental/psychological stability of the concerned victims with the help of the aviation psychologists as mentioned earlier. Precisely, the above incidence supports the need for aviation psychology within the industry. Psychological nourishment prevails as one of this significant factor that if not keenly regarded or treated might lead to irrational decision, unsafe flights, and a maltreatment of clients.

Therefore, the basic principle reiterated here is for these personalities to adopt psychological competence and be able to act rationally within psychologically diverse settings. The aviation psychologists should be motivated to identify the significance of psychological familiarity, knowledge and, comprehension concerning ethical/mental provisions (Salas & Maurino 2010).

This forms a very critical sentiment towards the enhancement of the psychologists’ capabilities to deal with flight challenges. As educators, aviation psychologists must integrate the premises of aviation psychology and diversity within the psychological contexts. Education forms a critical process of cognitive appreciation of facts within populations (Goeters, 2004).

Mental Issues pilots and Flight Crews are facing and the treatment for them

The mental issues that pilots and their support team face during their operations are numerous. Nonetheless, such issues are mostly psychological and are based on the fears regarding new adventures and past experiences (Baars & Gage, 2010).

Psychological disorders like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Schizophrenia, hallucinations, Multiple Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, sleep disorders, and factitious disorders are some of the psychological issues that must be addressed among the concerned groups. Precisely, most of the psychological issues faced by pilots incorporate adversities in the patterns of belief, language utilization, as well as perception of reality.

Treatments are also diverse ranging from psychotherapy to medication; this depends on how aviation psychologists will establish the matter. Conventionally, aviation psychologists are expected to talk to pilots as well as flight crew members if they experience/develop flying fears, and help them overcome such fears. Additionally, it is vital for them to provide pilots and crew affiliates with pieces of advice on how to overcome “airsickness”.

Care ought to be taken such that psychological disparities among different individuals are never regarded as psychological ineptitude. Personally, psychological differences should not be used to prejudice certain individuals (Goeters 2004). Key professionals within the aviation psychology (aviation psychologists) ought to apply their psychological competency knowledge in enhancing the process of a rationale individual character or mental scrutiny to augment fair judgment during flights.

The roles of aviation psychology professionals in addressing the issues of psychological concerns as well as meeting client demands are clearly outlined (Baars & Gage, 2010). Aviation psychologists are also important to the pilots and flight members in diverse ways. In fact, they help in training the prospective pilots to avoid anxiety and how to handle it in times of danger.

This is staged so as to guarantee a safe flight despite the pressure. Generally, mental competency refers to the capacity of an individual to comprehend the nature of activity/situation in which a person is involved in. Contrarily, incompetency may refer to the loss of this capacity to act as a person, basing everything on personal decisions.

The elementary factors of mental competency rely on a person’s familiarity with the kind of their situation, factual comprehension of the concerns in question as well the capability to internalize facts rationally to arrive at a decision (Bor & Hubbard 2006). Through aviation psychology, competency concerns may emerge at diverse points when flying.

Notably, the capacity to handle stress is very important for safety during flights. Through aviation psychology, it is vital to understand that the concerned psychologists can help all crew members ranging from pilots to air traffic controllers. In fact, they can teach them on how to handle stress and other stressing situations that they don’t “suffer exhaustion” with consequent poor performances (Hayes, 2005).

The increasing need for mental stability and technology transformations have increased potential challenges within the aviation industry. It is evident that the present aviation psychologists have to handle numerous pitfalls that have immensely compromised the wellbeing and development of pilots, flight crews, and other flight controllers. The welfare of this crew should be of a great concern in case safe flights are demanded.

It is vital to understand the concerned flight provision enjoyed in this case. Precisely, counseling flight crews is a potential contemporary area within the aviation psychology. The mandate of most aviation psychologists is to guard, rehabilitate and match the mental malfunctions noted among the prospective pilots (Salas & Maurino, 2010). Ideally, flight personnel require adequate psychological attention during their practice.

Another considerable aspect in the aviation psychology is the accident counseling. Usually, it is vital to counsel the survivors of any air crush so as to restore their mental stability. In this context, aviation psychologists counsel pilots and flight crew members to guarantee them a full recovery before they resume their duties. This is a critical provision in the context of psychological enhancement after any traumatic event.

The fear of resuming work after a tragic event must be overcome. This is a fundamental necessity, which can only be delivered by aviation psychologists. It is vital to bar the general flight crew from reacting exceedingly. Consequently, the existent counseling provisions have largely been viewed as effective when supported with proper rehabilitative procedures (Bor & Hubbard 2006).

The general observation is that aviation psychologists have immensely succeeded in delivering their rehabilitative as well as treatment roles to the flight crews. Consequently, such psychologists have been provided with the liberties meant to spearhead the counseling provisions. In some organizations, pilots and flight crews have poor access to psychological services as well as mental support services.

Instead, they have come to adopt more detrimental habits and engage more in drugs and other malpractices. This has led to unsafe flights to various destinations. The aspects of management have also contributed considerably to the aspects of aviation psychology. It is vital to understand that most organizations demand competent aviation psychologists to help them overcome the looming dangers attained due to unsafe flights.

Aviation psychology equally strives to research on how to maintain the quickest and most effective way to convey information to the pilot in the cockpit (Braisby & Gellatly, 2012). It is vital to understand that the efforts to relay such crucial information from one department to the next can credibly improve flight safety by ensuring that pilots learn of weather conditions or equipment malfunction in real time.

Consequently, there will a massive reduction of dangers and unsafe flights. What is important in this context is the mental stability among the concerned crews (Spielberger, 2004). The professionals within the fields of aviation psychology also have an active role in conducting empirical research on the best ways to handle unsafe flights (Salas & Maurino 2010).

Corrective and rehabilitative procedures must be coupled with knowledge engagement and education to enhance the future competencies among the concerned crews. The harmonization of the rehabilitative undertakings and correctional procedures within the aviation systems will be necessary for benchmarking as well as monitoring the intended purposes.

Generally, there should be a great focus on transforming the lives of the psychologically affected flight crews to enhance performance and safe flights. This is unlike the presently notable objective that seeks to counsel the affected members within aviation penitentiaries. Indeed, the aviation industry requires a positive transformation for better lives and safe flights (Bor & Hubbard 2006).

For instance, there are several instances where psychological traumas among the pilots and flight controllers have led to considerable deaths due to unsafe flights. In order to change this trend, it is clear that all stakeholders in the aviation industry have critical roles to play. Clinically, there are considerable developments within the aviation industry meant to mitigate the risks leading to unsafe flights or promote safety within the scope aviation psychology.

For instance, most flight organizations have established counseling departments equipped with aviation psychologists to handle the psychological matter within the workforce. Additionally, effective policy formulation and active research on best practices for transforming the aviation have been initiated to enhance safe flights. Most countries have adopted (as a policy) viable psychological practices that must be adopted by the aviation industry players so as to ensure safer flights.

Such initiatives should gain indulgence and support from the concerned government sectors (Braisby & Gellatly, 2012). According to clinical psychologists, there is a difference between sensation and perception. They describe sensations as un-interpreted sensual impressions produced by the recognition of an environmental stimulus (Weiten, 2009).

In contrary, perception is described as a set of procedures whereby understanding is derived from these sensations. This is a considerable provision in the context of cognitive development and aviation psychology. Perception is very important in everyday life as it helps people to accurately traverse the world.

This helps them in not only evading any eminent danger but also making the right decisions and preparing to take actions. Much emphasis has been given to visual perception and speech by researchers. Cognitive psychologists have done research on perception with respect to aviation psychology (Goeters, 2004).


Clinically, aviation psychology is important in the lives of pilots and flight crews. The mental issues pilots and flight crews are facing, as well as their treatments are bountiful. As indicated before, the competency of an individual has a great influence on the quality of his or her cognitive performance.

Clinically, aviation psychology involves an idea that understanding whatever makes individuals bothered depends on cognitive processes (cognitive psychology) that take place in the mind. Therefore, it emphasizes on how information is processed by human beings. In addition, it also takes into account how this information is treated and how actions taken results into responses (Kalat, 2011).

Expressed in another way, cognitive psychologists are more concerned about factors that occur between incitements (as an input) and response (output) caused by the stimulus. This provision is relevant in the aviation psychology where pilots and the flight crew are involved in the psychological deviations.


Baars, J., & Gage, M. (2010). Cognition, brain, and consciousness: Introduction to cognitive neuroscience. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.

Bor, R., & Hubbard, T. (2006). Aviation mental health: Psychological implications for air transportation. Aldershot : Ashgate.

Braisby, N., & Gellatly, A. (2012). Cognitive psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goeters, K. (2004). Aviation psychology: Practice and research. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Goeters, K. (2004). Aviation psychology: Practice and research. Aldershot: ASHGATE.

Hayes, N. (2005). Foundations of psychology. London: Thomson learning.

Kalat, W. (2011). Introduction to psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Salas, E., & Maurino, D. (2010). Human factors in aviation. Amsterdam: Academic Press/Elsevier.

Spielberger, C. (2004). Encyclopedia of applied psychology. Oxford: Academic PRESS.

Weiten, W. (2009). Psychology applied to modern life: Adjustment in the 21st century. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

This Research Paper on Aviation Psychology was written and submitted by user Happy Hogan to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Happy Hogan studied at Syracuse University, USA, with average GPA 3.36 out of 4.0.

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Hogan, Happy. "Aviation Psychology." IvyPanda, 28 June 2019,

1. Happy Hogan. "Aviation Psychology." IvyPanda (blog), June 28, 2019.


Hogan, Happy. "Aviation Psychology." IvyPanda (blog), June 28, 2019.


Hogan, Happy. 2019. "Aviation Psychology." IvyPanda (blog), June 28, 2019.


Hogan, H. (2019) 'Aviation Psychology'. IvyPanda, 28 June.

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