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Stephen Walmsley

Doctor of Philosophy, (Aviation)
Study Completed: 2016
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
Flights into Deteriorating Weather Conditions: Investigating Cognitive Biases in Weather-Related Decision Making

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Research shows that flights into deteriorating weather conditions are a significant cause of fatalities in general aviation accidents. Mr Walmsley''sresearch found that the use of three common cognitive heuristics may lead to cognitive biases in weather related decision making. These three cognitive biases could potentially lead a pilot to perceive the prevailing weather conditions as being better than they actually are, and consequently continuing a flight into deteriorating weather conditions, when the safer option would be to alter course. Because the consequences of cognitive biases in weather related decision making can be fatal, Mr Walmsley experimentally tested the effectiveness of a de-biasing strategy that had proven successful in other situations. However, no evidence was found to suggest that the de-biasing strategy was effective in general aviation.

Associate Professor Andrew Gilbey
Dr Jose Perezgonzalez

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