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Alaska Air Carrier Operator and Pilot Safety Practices and Attitudes: A Statewide Survey

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Conway GA, Hill A, Martin S, Mode NA, Berman MD, Bensyl DM, Manwaring JC, Moran KA. Alaska air carrier operator and pilot safety practices and attitudes: a statewide survey. Aviat Space Environ Med 2004; 75:984–991.

Introduction: Aviation crashes are a leading cause of occupational fatalities in Alaska, with Alaskan pilots having nearly 100 times the fatality rate of U.S. workers overall. A survey was designed to study pilot and company practices and attitudes in order to develop intervention strategies that would reduce aviation fatalities. Methods: Two surveys were administered: one of air carrier operators and one of active commercial pilots. Surveys from 153 air taxi and public-use operators were received at a 79% response rate. Results: There are almost 2000 pilots employed in Alaska during peak season by air taxi operators and public agencies. Surveyed operators and pilots generally agreed that improved weather information and regional hazards training would be effective ways to prevent crashes. Operators were more in favor of operator financial incentives (p < 0.05) and better pre-employment hiring checks on pilots (p < 0.05) compared with pilots’ survey responses. There were 48% of pilots of large operators and 73% of pilots of small operators who considered their jobs to be at least as safe as other jobs. Conclusions: The results of operator-pilot comparisons suggest that financial pressures on operators may influence their views on what measures would be effective in preventing crashes, and that Alaskan pilots underestimate their occupational fatality risk.
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Keywords: Alaska; CFR Pt. 135; air taxi; aviation; occupational injury; survey

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2004

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