Date of Award

Winter 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Donald D. Davis

Committee Member

Bryan E. Porter

Committee Member

Poornima Madhavan


Understanding the impact of pilot interpersonal dynamics may be crucial for flight team success as well as the prevention of air crash disasters. Achieving optimum performance from flight teams requires limiting unnecessary pilot task load. This study examined American and Chinese simulated flight crews. Factors believed to affect cockpit interpersonal dynamics and subsequent crew task loads were pilot personality and nationality. Pilot personality, team personality elevation, team personality variability, and team nationality were analyzed for their potential impact on task load perceptions. Twenty-four American, 23 Chinese, and 23 mixed nationality two person teams were created and used for comparisons. Increasing level of openness to experience was found to significantly decrease pilot perceptions of task load at the individual level of analysis. American teams were found to experience significantly overall lower task load perceptions than Chinese teams. These findings may have implications for training and safety protocol for pilots. Limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are discussed.


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