Pilots, Personality, and Performance: Human Behavior and Stress in the Skies

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In this timely work, Sheila Deitz and William Thoms have brought together a group of essays that explore some of the human factors that are becoming increasingly recognized as major causes of airplane mishaps and crashes. While much of the discussion on this topic necessarily focuses on pilots, other airline professionals--flight attendants, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and executives--are also subject to the psychological stress addressed in these studies. The contributors examine a selected range of topics that include such areas as working conditions, perception, risk assessment, and the necessity of making choices in an unforgiving environment. The book presents twelve chapters written by professionals who have devoted considerable time to studying the people who work for commercial airlines, and who have weathered the change from being part of a regulated industry to dealing with life in a cutthroat competitive environment. Among the topics that these professionals and scholars examine are the ways in which an impaired pilot can be deprived of his or her license, and the psychological factors involved; the influence of high altitude on the body, and how some of the physiological risks can be avoided; factors in qualifying pilots for medical certificates; communication and psychological issues facing student pilots; airline deregulation in the U.S. and Canada, and its effect on employees; age discrimination and the effectiveness of older pilots; hijacking; and the drafting of civilian pilots into war efforts. This important collection of essays will be a useful resource for students and professionals in the field of air transportation, as well as for both public and academic libraries.