An Investigation into the Virtues of Airline Pilot Training
That the world has become a global village can be seen in the exponential rise in air travel over the last few years and this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. Aviation industry has done a lot, especially in the realms of training and aircraft design to improve safety. The industry should not just maintain the current level of safety but improve it further. Besides enormous associated costs, accidents still occur. This study sought to show that ethics, particularly Aristotelian virtues in pilot training, can not only improve quality but also enhance efficiency and consequently minimize costs. The study set out to investigate if the people involved in pilot training consider virtues to be necessary for pilot training; which virtues they consider as most important; and how the virtues could be incorporated in a pilot training scheme. Descriptive survey design and naturalistic designs were used. Students and instructors/managers were randomly and purposively sampled using questionnaires and interview guides. Though scarce, the related literature was also reviewed. The findings of the literature review and questionnaires/interviews both confirmed that indeed virtues are needed in pilot training. All the cardinal virtues are preferred though in varying order of preference by the different categories of respondents. The study found that virtues can be incorporated in pilot training schemes through classroom training, through role models and reward and punishment for desirable and undesirable habits respectively, and through a dedicated code conspicuously displayed in training venues; but not through ruthless enforcement by punishment. The study recommended virtue training to be adopted by airlines as it enables pilots to easily observe regulations and comply with the tenets of Crew Resource Management among other benefits such as happiness and good working relationships which can enhance error management and greatly reduce accidents. Further research was recommended on how airlines and regulators can monitor compliance with virtues among pilots. Properly adopted, virtues can not only make training efficient but also help produce better pilots and consequently safer flight operations.