Validated Question Bank for Assessing Pilot Knowledge of Aviation Weather

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Robert Thomas
Cassandra Domingo
John Kleber
Jacqueline McSorely
Amber Cole
Thomas Guinn
Elizabeth Blickensderfer


The rate of weather-related accidents is decreasing at a rate 2.57 times slower than all general aviation (GA) accidents (Fultz and Ashley, 2006). This illustrates that despite there being projects aimed at addressing this accident rate, these interventions are not occurring fast enough. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found that 88% of all aviation weather-related accidents in the U.S. occurred among GA pilots (Federal Aviation Administration, 2010). From 2008 to 2019, there were 381 non-commercial fixed-wing GA aircraft accidents identified to be weather-related, and that resulted in at least one fatality (Air Safety Institute, 2022). This paper validates a set of weather product interpretation questions that can be used to measure a pilot’s understanding of weather. To address the gaps in a GA pilot’s understanding of the weather, the first step is assessing their current knowledge. Thus, this scale can be used as a metric for measuring a person’s understanding of weather and weather products. The assessment consists of 15 weather product interpretation topics which can be administered as a single 65-question survey or, as in the current study, two assessments of 33 and 32 questions each separated by topic. These questions may be used to identify areas of strength and weaknesses regarding a pilot’s understanding of weather. With this knowledge, pilots can better direct their studies to specific weather topics and fortify their understanding of weather and weather products. The long-term goal is for these questions to help address and fortify pilots’ weather knowledge and reduce the rate of GA weather-related accidents by promoting safe, informed weather-related decision-making.  

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