To study the role of expertise in weather-related VFR flight decisions we conducted two experiments in which experts and novices were presented with inconsistent weather information. In the first experiment 51 pilots performed a series of pre-flight planning decision tasks. We found that experts were better at selecting reliable information than novices. In the second experiment, 24 pilots made a VFR flight using the XPlane flight simulator. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four conditions with a different combination of good and bad flying (rendered in XPlane) and ATIS weather. We found that in poor weather conditions novices flew farther into bad weather than the experts before diverting. In the condition with bad ATIS and good flying weather, experts all made it to the destination while 67% of the novices diverted. Results have important implications to how dynamic decision-making skills can be included in pilot training.
& Fu, W.
(2011). The Role of Expertise in VFR Flight Decisions with Inconsisent Weather Information. 16th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 553-558.