Author Topic: DRDC Research into Cadet Glider Accidents  (Read 7243 times)

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DRDC Research into Cadet Glider Accidents
« on: August 20, 2009, 13:45:38 »
I'm sharing this so people can discuss and learn from the study, so I hope we WON'T see any online gender bashing based on a not-huge sample of accidents.

From the Defence Research and Development Canada, "Investigation of gender differences in air cadet glider accidents:  Social-psychological and other human factors" (151 page .pdf) - here's the short & sweet summary:
Quote
Directorate of Flight Safety (DFS) data between 1997 and 2007 suggest that a disproportionate number of female pilots are involved in Canadian air cadet glider accidents. These data contradict findings from the experienced adult female aircrew population in Canada (among Cadets) as well as general aviation accident records that typically find no gender differences in accident rates (McFadden, 1996). Research also suggests a mixed picture regarding gender differences in aviation safety among flight students; for example, compared to male flight students, female flight students tend to learn procedures correctly and be more consistent in using them, yet may also be slower to gain confidence (Sitler, 2004). Research also  suggests that commercial aviation continues to be dominated by “masculine” cultural values and practices, possibly leading to feelings of pressure among females to perform, as well as prejudicial attitudes towards female aviators (Davey, 2004; Vermeulen & Mitchell, 2007).

This study explored social-psychological and other human factors that may be involved in gender differences in Canadian air cadet glider accidents.

Analyses of 19 accident reports (1997-2007) indicated that accidents involving only females were attributable to factors such as decision error, whereas accidents involving only males were attributable to over-confidence and a culture of noncompliance.  In nearly 70% of the accidents a female was the pilot in command (PIC).

Survey findings from a sample of male and female air cadets and glider instructors (N=472) indicated some gender differences in attitudes towards female pilots, ergonomic factors, and prior experiences relevant to gliding.

Findings from interviews with 28 male and female air cadets and glider instructors suggested that organizational factors, including gender-related differences in how feedback is provided to air cadets, the perceived effects of low self-confidence among females on decision making, gender socialization, gender stereotypes, and gender-related pressures to perform, may help to explain gender differences in accident rates. Recommendations are made toward understanding gender-related diversity in the air cadet glider community, developing more effective training approaches, and preventing future accidents.

- mod edit to edit title based on follow-up research -
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 21:35:32 by milnews.ca »
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Offline Roy Harding

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Re: New Research into Cadet Glider Accidents Just Out
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2009, 13:58:57 »
I don't see any surprises there. 

Based ONLY on my own experience raising kids - being exposed to my own and their friends.  Teen-aged girls, in general, tend to lack confidence - and teen-aged boys, in general, tend to be overconfident.  Apparently, under confidence translates to more mistakes than over confidence when flying gliders.

Both tendencies lead to mistakes.  These tendencies usually level out in a few years - which explains why there is no gender difference in older pilots.

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Offline Kyle Burrows

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Re: New Research into Cadet Glider Accidents Just Out
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2009, 02:04:02 »
It is definitely interesting.  I'm curious to know as to the gender ratio for the courses where this data was collected.
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Re: New Research into Cadet Glider Accidents Just Out
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 06:43:14 »
Roy, another factor to consider, especially consider the percentage of accidents in which a female was PIC, is that her student (or co-joe) may have gone against her orders/suggestions given their own over confidence.  As the female is ultimately responsible, given that she has signed for the aircraft, this may also be why there is a disproportionate amount of fault found towards them.

Just another train of thought.
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Offline Roy Harding

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Re: New Research into Cadet Glider Accidents Just Out
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2009, 08:45:16 »
Roy, another factor to consider, especially consider the percentage of accidents in which a female was PIC, is that her student (or co-joe) may have gone against her orders/suggestions given their own over confidence.  As the female is ultimately responsible, given that she has signed for the aircraft, this may also be why there is a disproportionate amount of fault found towards them.

Just another train of thought.

You, of course, have a much better understanding of the flying aspect of this whole thang.  My prior statement was just a WAG based on my observations of teenagers and grown adults.

At what age did you start flying?  One of my sons was an Air Cadet - got his Glider wings at 15, and his power at 16 - and I'd agree with the over-confidence thing regarding young males in the study.  But his experience is my ONLY window into the world of teenaged flyers.

That's an interesting theory you've postulated - and I wouldn't doubt it is closer to the truth than my own.  Teenaged boys CAN be impetuous, and in my experience seem to go through a horrendous male "superiority" thing for a while - no matter how they were raised.  I wouldn't doubt that they'd be more likely to disobey a female PIC than a male.
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Offline Loachman

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Re: New Research into Cadet Glider Accidents Just Out
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2009, 09:23:09 »
It also seems to be a small statistical sampling - just nineteen accidents. It's easy to skew something like that.

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Re: New Research into Cadet Glider Accidents Just Out
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2009, 09:29:11 »

Offline Roy Harding

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Re: New Research into Cadet Glider Accidents Just Out
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2009, 10:38:52 »
That was interesting - thanks Mario.  Interesting that, just like vehicle accidents, males tend to have more "catastrophic" accidents.

And Loachman - you're right - an extremely small sample, and one shouldn't take too much stock in the conclusions of the study.
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Follow-up DRDC study out
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2011, 20:25:48 »
A bump with a follow-up DRDC paper (1.2MB PDF) - from abstract:
Quote
Directorate of Flight Safety (DFS) data between 1997 and 2007 suggest that a disproportionate number of female pilots are involved in Canadian air cadet glider accidents. Research also suggests that commercial aviation continues to be dominated by “masculine” cultural values and practices, possibly leading to feelings of pressure among females to perform, as well as prejudicial attitudes towards female aviators (Davey, 2004; Vermeulen & Mitchell, 2007). Research by Febbraro, Gill, Holton, and Hendriks (2008) also found differential treatment of males and females in the Canadian air cadet glider training environment. All of these factors suggest that female air cadets may be exposed to negative attitudes and expectations and may encounter stereotype threat (i.e., negative gender stereotypes) in flight situations. Such negative stereotypes or attitudes could, in turn, play a role in the deficit in performance among female cadets, and possibly contribute to the number of accidents attributed to females. This study explored the precursors to negative gender attitudes in an attempt to identify some of the key factors that contribute to stereotype threat. Structural equation modeling based on survey findings from a sample of male and female air cadets (N=211) indicated that an awareness of pilot limitations and rational thinking patterns predicted aviation gender attitudes (AGA). Knowing the precursors to negative AGA could point to a mechanism by which these attitudes, and therefore, the environment encountered by female cadets, may be altered to increase their confidence and decrease the stereotype threat, thus potentially leading to fewer accidents.

More detailed Executive summary attached.
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