It is critical that pilots make appropriate flight path deviation decisions when faced with threats of inclement weather. This research demonstrates a latent growth model of pilots’ confidence in flight path deviation decisions when faced with potential weather threats. Twenty-four commercial airline pilots encountered 6 weather threats during a simulated flight from New York, NY to Miami, FL. Pilots made deviation decisions at 4 distance points from each potential weather threat. Results from the latent growth model (LGM) of pilots’ distance confidence as a function of the distance to the potential weather threat showed a statistically significant growth in confidence as pilots flew closer to the weather threat. Pilots exhibited an escalated commitment bias such that confidence in subsequent decisions increased more if their confidence was high in the initial decision. Weather forecasting is unreliable; therefore airlines should train pilots to avoid this type of decision making bias.
Bustamante, E. A.,
Newlin, E. T.,
& Bliss, J. P.
(2007). A Latent Growth Model of Pilots’ Decision Making While Facing Potential Weather Threats. 2007 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 103-108.