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Maria Chaparro & Captain Shem Malmquist

Pilot Personality Trends and Potential Training Opportunities

Pilot success in training is a vital component for airlines and other organizations (Barron, Carretta, Bonto, & Kane, 2016). Personality is acknowledged as an influencing factor in pilot performance and training outcomes (King et al., 2014; Bartram, 1995). However, pilot personality is generally used only as a pilot selection tool. Here we present the results of a theoretical study examining trends in pilot personality. The study consisted of conducting a literature review to identify research examining pilot personality traits and used Mcrae and Costa’s (1995) five factor model (FFM) of personality as a benchmark. The review examined pilots across three different categories (i.e. commercial, aviation and military). The review resulted in the aggregation of the studies to present a general trend across all categories and across the aforementioned three categories, to examine if there are differences between groups. Different trends were found across the three categories. Given the findings, there may be opportunities in which personality can be leveraged to inform and potentially optimize training. We propose potential approaches to utilize pilot personality in a training context, such as, using information about individual pilot personalities to tailor training to ensure an understanding of potential personality pit falls, resulting in the highest probabilities for pilot success.

Captain Shem Malmquist, Visiting Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

Captain Shem Malmquist is a visiting professor at the Florida Institute of Technology and an active current B-777 Captain operating predominantly international routes. In addition to being an international pilot for the bulk of the last 32 years, he has taught aerobatics and instructed in a variety of both general aviation and transport aircraft. Captain Malmquist has published numerous technical and academic articles stemming from his work on flight safety and accident investigation. His most recent work has involved approaches to risk analysis and accident prevention utilizing MIT’s System Theoretic Accident Models and Processes (STAMP) and facilitating the integration of these methods on behalf of several organizations.

His past work includes Automation and Human Factors lead for the Commercial Aviation Safety Team’s Joint Safety Implementation Team, Loss of Control working group, as well as the Aircraft State Awareness working group and the Joint Implementation Measurement and Data Analysis Team. He also has either led or been deeply involved in several major aircraft accident investigations, performing operations, human factors, systems and aircraft performance analysis.

Captain Malmquist is an elected Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a full member of ISASI, and a member of the Resilience Engineering Association, AIAA, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, IEEE, the Flight Safety Foundation and SAE where he also serves as a voting member of the Flight Deck and Handling Quality Standards for Transport Aircraft committee and is a member of the Aerospace Behavior Engineering Technology and the Lithium Battery Packaging Performance Committees.

In addition to his papers on flight safety and accident investigation topics, he is the co-author (with Roger Rapoport) of the book “Angle of Attack” on the Air France 447 accident and its implications on aviation safety. 

Maria Chaparro, Aviation Sciences Ph.D. Student, Florida Institute of Technology