Hazardous Attitudes Assessment

Previous research has shown that hazardous attitudes affect pilot judgment. These attitudes affect the way you make decisions, and can lead you into potentially hazardous situations. Later, you will learn ways to limit your own hazardous attitudes.

Chapter 16 of the FAA's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge provides a lot of information on attitudes -- particularly the five hazardous attitudes described in several FAA publications. This table summarizes the definitions of those attitudes.


1. Anti-Authority:
"Don't tell me."

This attitude is found in people who do not like anyone telling them what to do. In a sense, they are saying, "No one can tell me what to do." They may be resentful of having someone tell themwhat to do, or may regard rules, regulations, and procedures as silly or unnecessary. However, itis always your prerogative to question authority if you feel it is in error.

2. Impulsivity:
"Do it quickly."

This is the attitude of people who frequently feel the need to do something, anything, immediately. They do not stop to think about what they are about to do; they do not select the best alternative, and they do the first thing that comes to mind.

3. Invulnerability:
"It won't happen to me."

Many people feel that accidents happen to others, but never to them. They know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be affected. They never really feel or believe that they will be personally involved. Pilots who think this way are more likely to take chances and increase risk.

4. Macho:
"I can do it."

Pilots who are always trying to prove that they are better than anyone else are thinking, "I can do it –I'll show them." Pilots with this type of attitude will try to prove themselves by taking risks in order to impress others. While this pattern is thought to be a male characteristic, women are equally susceptible.

5. Resignation:
"What's the use?"

Pilots who think, "What's the use?" do not see themselves as being able to make a great deal of difference in what happens to them. When things go well, the pilot is apt to think that it is good luck. When things go badly, the pilot may feel that someone is out to get me, or attribute it to bad luck. The pilot will leave the action to others, for better or worse. Sometimes, such pilots will even go along with unreasonable requests just to be a "nice guy."


To discover the extent to which you have these attitudes take one of these self-assessment inventories.

There are three Hazardous Attitude Assessments


This self-assessment is taken directly from the FAA's circular on Aeronauatical Decision-Making.

In this self-assessment, ten situations will be presented, each involving a flight decision. After each situation, you will find a list of five possible reasons for a decision. No "correct" answer is provided for any of the 10 situations. You may indeed be correct in believing that a safe pilot would not choose any of the five alternatives. Be assured that most people know better than to act as described in the situations. Just recognize that the inventory presents extreme cases of incorrect pilot decision making to help introduce you to the five special types of hazardous thinking described later.

Please Note: Research has shown that this is not a very good way to measure your hazardous attitudes -- it is mainly designed as a teaching tool to acquaint pilots with the concept of hazardous attitudes. If you want to assess your personal attitudes, you should try either the Aviation Safety Attitudes Survey or the New Hazardous Attitudes Scale.

Read each of the situations carefully, then read each of the five possible reasons for a decision and choose the one most likely reason why you might make the choice that is described.


Version 2. Aviation Safety Attitudes Survey

The Aviation Safety Attitudes Survey consists of 27 statements in which you indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with each statement. This scale produces three different scores: Self-Confidence, Risk Orientation, and Safety Orientation. Each of these scores have been found to be related to aviation safety measures.



Version 3. The New Hazardous Attitudes Scale

This self-assessment instrument is based upon scales developed by researchers at George Mason University. It produces six measures of Hazardous Attitudes that differ slightly from the measures contained in the original FAA Hazardous Attitudes Test. There are 30 items in this scale.