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Hierarchy in the cockpit: How captains influence the decision-making of young and inexperienced first officers

Fabre, Eve Floriane and Matton, Nadine and Beltran, Frédéric and Baragona, Valeria and Cuny, Cerise and Imbert, Jean-Paul and Voivret, Stéphane and Van Der Henst, Jean-Baptiste and Causse, Mickaël Hierarchy in the cockpit: How captains influence the decision-making of young and inexperienced first officers. (2022) Safety Science, 146. 105536. ISSN 0925-7535

(Document in English)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2021.105536


The present study aimed at investigating the extent to which Captains’ risky decisions influence young and inexperienced First Officers. Participants (i.e., student pilots who had almost completed their training) had to decide, alone or in a crew configuration, whether to continue or abort the landing according to four risk levels (safe, moderately risky, highly risky and extremely risky). In the lone pilot configuration, they made their decisions by themselves, while in the crew configuration they were paired with a Captain who acted as a risk taker and almost always chose to land (except in extremely risky situations). The Captain’s mere presence led participants to increase their risk-taking in moderately risky situations (before they even knew the Captain’s decision), supposedly in an attempt to look competent and impress their superior. In reaction to the Captain’s decision to land, participants also increased their risk-taking in highly risky situations. This tendency was positively correlated to the perceived authority of the Captain. Surprisingly, some participants sometimes insisted on continuing the landing in extremely risky situations after the Captain asked for a go-around, suggesting that some pilot students may greatly overestimate their piloting skills (i.e., Dunning Kruger effect). Some applications of the present experimental protocol as training for student pilots are proposed.

Item Type:Article
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
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Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace - ISAE-SUPAERO (FRANCE)
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Deposited On:12 Jan 2022 09:06

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