Attitudes Towards Unsafe Acts


Wiggins and Simpson have researched the Attitudes of pilots towards unsafe acts through a questionnaire. The aim of their research was to simulate a real life situation and test the pilot’s responses and attitudes towards unsafe acts. They also wanted to find the pilots viewpoint on the teaching of human factors and the practicality and usefulness it provided for the industry. This article aims to summarize the results as well as analyze them to make them more accessible for the average reader to comprehend.

Questionnaire Design

The questionnaire is modeled after the work by Gregorich Helmreich and Wilhelm (1990). One of the primary aims of the researchers was the development of a questionnaire that would accurately reflect the perceptions of general aviation pilots towards unsafe acts. The questionnaire is designed to simulate an aeronautical environment in which the respondents are to state their opinions that best reflects their attitudes towards unsafe acts.



70 general aviation pilots, including 39 private and 31 commercial pilots. Pilots accumulated a median of 175 hours in command and had a mean age of 29.8 years with a standard deviation of 10.76. 47 percent of the pilots involved had been involved in some form of human factors related training and 35 percent had been involved with a accident or incident with human factors involved.


The questionnaire contained 25 statements in which the pilots were to respond with there opinion ranging from 1(strongly agree) to 5(strongly disagree). A higher score indicated a positive attitude towards unsafe acts amongst the pilots.
It also included a number of open-ended questions that were included to provide pilots with an opportunity to consider the role of human factors education in the prevention of unsafe acts.


Concurrent Validity

In this research only a small sample of the population has been taken, if researchers want to infer whether similar properties exist in a larger group inferential statistics must be applied. For inferential statistics to apply the sample that has been taken must be normally distributed. In the research skewness and kurtosis has been measured to indicate whether the sample is normally distributed.


Skewness describes whether the distribution is symmetrical or not. A symmetrical distribution indicates that all values are equally above and below the mean. A perfectly symmetrical distribution has no skewness. The skewness of the research is -.27.this means there is more values below the mean and it is not perfectly symmetrical. However the skewness of this sample is very close to zero, which therefore gives indications of a normally distributed sample.


Kurtosis describes whether the distribution is taller or flatter than a normal distribution should be. As with skewness a figure close to zero shows indication of a normally distributed sample. In the research the kurtosis is .34 which gives us further proof that the sample is normally distributed because it approximates to zero.

In analyzing the data that is provided in the research article it is evident that the sample is normally distributed. Because kurtosis and skewness figures are so close to zero it is fair to make this assumption. Any results drawn from this sample can be used to make assumptions about the population as a whole.

Quantitative analysis

The results were a simplified yes and no answer of each of the pilots view point towards the importance of human factors in general aviation. A yes can range from a “yes but only to a degree” to “human factors have been a revolution in the industry”. Overall results were positive and pilots believe that human factors do play a role in general aviation. However we cannot distinguish as to what extent they believe human factors is currently having in the industry.

For the Attitude questionnaire the results differed depending on the backgrounds of each individual pilot this can be witnessed in the tables below. Overall pilot’s responses were mixed however the research gives a valuable insight into how different pilots showed significantly different mean scores. Pilots who had previously been involved been involved in an aircraft accident or incident recorded a much higher score than those pilots who have not. Also pilots who flew commercially recorded a higher score than those pilots that flew privately.

Mean scores on attitudes questionnaire for involement in human error related accident or incidents

Yes No
85 80

Mean scores on attitude questionnaire for private and commercial pilots

Private Commercial
75 85


Overall this research does have a degree of concurrent validity and internal reliability. Meaning we can use this model to make a inference about a greater population. From the research we can draw conclusions that

-Pilots generally do believe that human factors play an important part in human factors.

-The attitudes towards unsafe acts of pilots can vary depending on the pilots background.

1. full reference in the following format AUTHOR (date work). Title. Reference location, date publication.
+++ Footnotes +++
2. ###

Want to know more?


Contributors to this page

James Lowe

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License