Aviation Risk Perception: A Comparison Between Experts and Novices

This article reports on a study undertaken to explore possible differences in risk perceptions and attitudes of experts and novices in relation to common flying risks. The participants (n = 64) were matched on characteristics previously found to affect perceptions, such as demographic, gender, and background factors. The first group (n=36) was experienced helicopter pilots whose mean flight experience was 2,412 hours (average flying 9.7 years). The second group (n=28) was candidate helicopter pilots who were attending a 52-week training program than included 200 hours of flying time and 29 courses that involved an additional 1,157 hours of training. Mean flight experience in the second group at the time of the study was 55 hours. The data showed considerable evidence of perceptual differences between the two participant groups. The experts’ perceptions of relative risks are more accurate, in terms of their higher correlation with the true relative frequencies. A significant positive correlation between the flight hours and the contextual risk-taking tendency is also shown, leading the experienced pilots’ choices toward risky alternatives in scenarios. The authors hypothesize that this may be a potential result of their overconfidence based on superior task performance. The authors note that novices tend to be guided by human factors such as stress and crew coordination, while the perceptions of experienced pilots appear to be influenced by task-oriented factors such as controllability, altitude, night flight, and centrality. Appended to the article are the five hypothetical scenarios used in the study.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Thomson, Mary E
    • Onkal, Dilek
    • Avcioglu, Ali
    • Goodwin, Paul
  • Publication Date: 2004-12


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01003982
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 13 2005 5:46AM