Exploring Collegiate Flight Training Students' Perceptions of Safety Culture

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Carolina Anderson
Sang-A Lee
Flavio Mendonca
Shlok Misra
Ken Byrnes


As flight training organizations expand and adapt to meet the growing demands of the industry, organizational leadership and safety departments are continuing to intensively focus on aviation safety and quality assurance through the core values of safety promotion, culture, and education. A flight school's safety culture, shaped by students' risk perceptions, can predict safety behaviors. Understanding students' trust and confidence in this safety culture could potentially aid in early risk mitigation strategies. The purpose of this study was to investigate flight students' perceived safety culture at a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 141 flight training school in the Southeast region of the United States. The survey was adapted from the Safety Culture Indicator Scale Measurement System. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained from 398 students. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were used to test structural relationships among organizational commitment, operations interactions, formal safety indicators, and safety behaviors. Results indicated a good model fit to analyze the nine hypotheses. Two of the nine hypotheses were supported. Safety Values and Safety Personnel significantly influence perceived personal risk. The textual data analysis revealed strong student's opinions towards a medical grounding and no-show procedure initiated by the Flight Department. Additionally, themes identified students' desire to receive more communication of safety information and the language barriers present in a multi-cultural operation.

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