Hazardous Attitudes


  • Hazardous attitudes, which contribute to poor pilot judgment, are dangerous personalities we must learn to recognize
  • Early recognition of these hazardous attitudes sets the stage for proper corrective action to be taken [Figure 1]
  • Research has identified several hazardous attitudes that can affect a pilot's judgment, as well as the corresponding antidotes for each
  • The community anchors on five overarching hazardous attitudes:
  • This research evolved into the Crew Resource Management concept
Instrument Flying Handbook. Figure 1-14, The Five Antidotes to Hazardous Attitudes
Figure 1: Instrument Flying Handbook,
The Five Antidotes to Hazardous Attitudes

Hazardous Attitudes:

  1. Anti-Authority:
    • "Don't tell me"
    • This attitude is found in those who do not like anyone telling them what to do
    • They may be resentful of having someone tell them what to do, or may regard rules, regulations, and procedures as silly or unnecessary
    • While it is always your prerogative to question authority if you feel it is in error, understand you may be in error
  2. Impulsively:
    • "Do it quickly"
    • This is the attitude of people who frequently feel the need to do something, anything, immediately
    • They do not stop to think about what they are about to do; they do not select the best alternative, and they do the first thing that comes to mind
  3. Invulnerability:
    • "It won't happen to me"
    • Many people feel that accidents happen to others, but never to them
    • They know accidents can happen, and they know that anyone can be affected
    • They never really feel or believe that they will be personally involved
    • Experience can be a large contributing factor
    • Pilots who think this way are more likely to take chances and increase risk
  4. Macho:
    • "I can do it"
    • Pilots who are always trying to prove that they are better than anyone else are thinking, "I can do it. I'll show them"
    • Pilots with this type of attitude will try to prove themselves by taking risks in order to impress others
    • While this pattern is thought to be a male characteristic, women are equally susceptible
  5. Resignation:
    • "What's the use?"
    • Pilots feeling resignation do not see themselves as being able to make a great deal of difference in what happens to them
    • When things go well, the pilot is apt to think that it is good luck
    • When things go badly, the pilot may feel that someone is out to get me, or attribute it to bad luck
    • The pilot will leave the action to others, for better or worse
    • Sometimes, such pilots will even go along with unreasonable requests just to be a "nice guy"


  • Hazardous attitudes will never present themselves so clearly
  • A pilot who exhibits a hazardous trait may not recognize it him/herself and it may be up to you to prevent catastrophe
    • A pilot who will risk his/her own life will likely do the same with their passengers!
  • Remember that human factors and your personal day-to-day attitudes will dictate what you bring to the airplane
  • The Federal Aviation Administration publishes a newsletter titled Callback
    • This newsletter, combined with reviews of past mishaps will ensure you keep grounded to the basic principles and safety practices you learned as that young private pilot on their first solo