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Aviation Risk Perception

Every activity, even just sitting on your couch watching TV, has some degree of risk. Think of risk as the likelihood that something unpleasant will happen. If you are sitting on the couch, there is some small (but non-zero) chance that the roof will collapse and the rescue squad will find you sitting in your shorts and holding a can of your favorite frosty.

In aviation we talk a lot about risks, and how to manage them. But, not everyone sees risks the same. Some pilots may think that a given activity has little risk, while other pilots, even those with equal skills and experience, may think that the same activity has a lot of risk.

Research has shown that pilots who rate the risks in aviation activities as low tend to experience more hazardous events -- close calls, sticky situations -- and may be more likely to experience an aviation accident. So, knowing how your risk assessments stack up against the norm can be a useful bit of information.

Here are two exercises designed to measure how well you assess risks. Try one, or both, and see if your risk assessment skills need to be re-calibrated.

Aviation Risk Perception (Version S) This exercise consists of 26 one-sentence descriptions of a variety of aviation and non-aviation situations. This takes about 5 minutes to complete, and you will receive feedback on your performance upon completion.
Aviation Risk Perception (Version O) This exercise consists of 17 scenarios depicting aviation situations in which the pilot in the situation is facing some degree of risk. This takes about 8 minutes to complete, and you will receive feedback on your performance upon completion.