Classification and prediction of pilot weather encounters: A discriminant function analysis

David O'Hare*, David R. Hunter, Monica Martinussen, Mark Wiggins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Flight into adverse weather continues to be a significant hazard for General Aviation (GA) pilots. Weather-related crashes have a significantly higher fatality rate than other GA crashes. Previous research has identified lack of situational awareness, risk perception, and risk tolerance as possible explanations for why pilots would continue into adverse weather. However, very little is known about the nature of these encounters or the differences between pilots who avoid adverse weather and those who do not. Methods: Visitors to a web site described an experience with adverse weather and completed a range of measures of personal characteristics. Results: The resulting data from 364 pilots were carefully screened and subject to a discriminant function analysis. Two significant functions were found. The first, accounting for 69% of the variance, reflected measures of risk awareness and pilot judgment while the second differentiated pilots in terms of their experience levels. The variables measured in this study enabled us to correctly discriminate between the three groups of pilots considerably better (53% correct classifications) than would have been possible by chance (33% correct classifications). Conclusions: The implications of these findings for targeting safety interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-549
Number of pages7
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


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