This question is related to:

Standard industry practices of cockpit management can invert or disrupt very deep cultural and political expectations of command and authority.

The question

What evidence is there, in research, incident reports or other documented sources, that has identified political attitudes around race, gender or social class as human factors in the cockpit?

For example:

With more women in airline cockpits, have new human factors emerged (for example, a male pilot displeased to be questioned by a woman)?

In regions with troubled racial histories (southern Africa, the USA) have race relations and attitudes in the cockpit been responsible for incidents?

In cultures where social class or even caste is very significant, have these been implicated as human factors in the cockpit?

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    $\begingroup$ Could that be answered factually? It seems to call for individual opinions and non representative events. $\endgroup$ – mins May 27 '16 at 13:38
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    $\begingroup$ @mins Possibly. Accident reports do list these sorts of things as contributing factors. $\endgroup$ – fooot May 27 '16 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ @fooot Even so, accident reports are, by nature, discussing non-representative events. That said, I don't recall any accident reports where race, gender, or social class made any difference... unless you count a GA accident report where the people in the front seats were of opposite gender and investigation of the crash scene indicated that they were engaged in activities other than flying the aircraft. $\endgroup$ – reirab May 27 '16 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ How is this "opinion-based"? I'm not asking whether some random person has opinions about any of these things; I'm asking whether research has identified new human factors emerging, whether incident investigations have implicated race attitudes or relations in their reports; whether social class has been implicated in incident investigations. Whether or not this is the case fact. Even if you completely disagree with any such reports or research, it's still a fact that these factors were implicated (or not) in them. $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida May 27 '16 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ This question seems too broad. Possible more specific questions include "does gender play a role in the perceived importance of cockpit communication," "are lower class pilots less likely to challenge their partner's authority," "How many accidents have had race as a contributing factor," "What is being done to compensate for strong social class differences when implementing CRM" or even "how do they select the gender of aural annunciations." $\endgroup$ – Cody P May 31 '16 at 20:00

There are numerous accident reports that state cultural issues as contributing factors, especially respect for elders / superiours / social class in Asian countries leading to poor "Crew Resource Management" - typically the co-pilot failing to challenge the captain.

The first examples that come to mind are:


Allowing any "deep seated" feelings to affect job performance is something to be avoided in any professional situation, particularly when split second decisions and teamwork are critical to safety.

The list is endless of what these feelings could be, the solution for management is awareness and proper training of employees in their job tasks and to make it crystal clear that anything less is unacceptable.

Management must create a professional environment, develop SOPs, and stress teamwork. We all are different, but any "deep seated" feelings have no place in the workplace. Company culture and training becomes the mode of behavior.

Not to be insensitive, there are issues that can affect how people feel, but bottom line, it is up to the individuals to rise above it and work together. Training sure helps.

Any question about attitudes is subjective, and will depend on your point of view. Referencing "East Asian" reminds me of people with Puritanical dress attitudes having no problem making TV shows about "nudies" from the rain forest dancing around. Other people do it, not me! I must be better, Right? No!

A study could (and should) implicate any attitude as a factor in the cockpit and train for proper behavior in an emergency. The issues are training and communication; that is what saves lives.

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    $\begingroup$ The question is specifically looking for source documents that cite these behaviors as possible contributing factors. $\endgroup$ – Jimmy Nov 23 '18 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, @Jimmy, a great excuse for not acting responsibly and professionally! Management should be made immediately aware of ANY discord amoung crew and should NOT hesitate to transfer people to improve the situation. Sorry, "deep seated feelings" are NO excuse not to do your job correctly, and should NOT be accepted as reasons for failure to do so IMHO. $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Nov 23 '18 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ I agree, but that’s not the point of the question. In order to best affect large-scale and lasting change, the issue needs studied at a more fundamental level, not just dealing with the symptoms (although they DO need dealt with). That’s what makes this a great question. One example included in many case studies is the S Korean crew. East Asian culture dictates that the one in charge is never to be challenged. The FO knew of a problem, but “acted professionally” by not questioning the Capt. So culture does play a role and cannot be simply dismissed as “unprofessional”. $\endgroup$ – Jimmy Nov 23 '18 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ OK, definitely on the right track with awareness of these issues, which management should have. They MUST create, through training and policy, clearly defined rules to eliminate "deep seated" issues and replace them with SOPs. But it also behooves each crew to get together, act professionally, and do their jobs. As a manager, I would not care how they did it as long as they were proficient, the customers were happy, and the plane was on time. Unfortunately, this question leaves the door WIDE open to discrimination, which is why training and SOPs may be the better path. $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Nov 23 '18 at 23:10
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    $\begingroup$ The question is not about "feelings", but is asking whether there is documentary evidence showing that cultural attitudes have been implicated in cockpit management problems. The answer does not address the question. $\endgroup$ – Daniele Procida Nov 24 '18 at 10:49

As a aeronautics and space student, I can tell you that there are standards(especially US military standards) for the configuration of the cockpit.wethear the hight of the seat and the length of the arm( it is needed to know if the pilot can reach all devices without struggle). You are right, there are many different people with different body shapes and sizes. however, the aircraft manufacturers have standards and pilots who don't fit the standard have it a little bit difficult. Moreover, if you might notice military pilots are picked carefully to match the standard, since a pilot needs to fit in the best way to the plane so he will be focused on flight rather then comfot. To answer your question, there are no modifications special for race or gender, unless you build a customize plane.

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    $\begingroup$ You seem to have missed the point of the question, at no point does it ask about ergonomic standards, which is what your answer is about. The question is about social, cultural and political disagreements in the cockpit. $\endgroup$ – AEhere Jan 14 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ I answered you both in the technical part of engineering. Since you are interested in the social part, there is racial and gender bias everywhere... So where there is bias the aviation company will have bias as well so it will hire according to that bias. $\endgroup$ – Margarita Zabolotny Jan 14 at 9:22
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    $\begingroup$ I understand what you answered, the issue is that it does not answer the question as asked, and on this site we prefer answers that stick to what was asked, or at least address the actual question before going off on a tangent. $\endgroup$ – AEhere Jan 14 at 10:22

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