Fatigue on Pilots in Aviation Industry

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 50
Words: 14894
Reading time:
53 min
Study level: College


This paper is going to take a look at fatigue as an issue that affects pilots in the aviation industry. The following factors will be discussed in this proposal

  • The definition of fatigue.
  • The causes of fatigue on pilots.
  • The effects of fatigue on pilots’ performance in the industry.
  • The measures to be considered in controlling fatigue on pilots.


Research indicates that fatigue has a great impact on the human resource in the aviation industry specially pilots; this impact is recorded to be the leading factor in the failure on the pilots’ attention and performance while carrying out their duties. Fatigue is defined as a result of an individual being attacked by a chronic stress making an individual to lose his or her memory and thus it leads to a poor concentration at work. Many people associate this condition with inadequate sleep and also one being worn out. This condition appears in two forms, that is, through the lack of enough rest that eventually leads to disorders related to sleeping and what the medics refers to circadian rhythm disturbance.


According to research conducted we find that fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry carries a number of dangers such as deterioration in attentiveness and performance among the pilots. Fatigue is referred to as the outcome of severe stress making an individual affected to loose memory and thus lacking full concentration. In this case we find that fatigue in many instances has been related to an individual lacking sleep and exhaustion. Fatigue is classified in two groups that caused by lack of sleep and fatigue caused by the disturbance of the circadian rhythm.

Background to the study

Research indicates that fatigue in the aviation operation is usually caused by the reaction of the pilots on particular circumstances surrounding their working environment, these circumstances may include lacking sleep on a perennial basis, working for long hours and job shifts. According to medical practitioners’ fatigue in an individuals has it own impacts such as leading to major penalties that are physiological and routinely scheduled the reason for this is that many pilots and crew members are mandated to be attentive and ensure that there is safety to avoid any problem, this is only done by the pilots and their crew members applying the existing surveillance and communication strategies. Fatigue is reported to have no cure, but the pilots are normally advised to control and prevent the fatigue by taking sufficient rest and sleep after work (Bink 1976).

Looking at the recent studies we find that the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) did a number of researches on the safety of the airline industry in which it took into considerations the major accidents that occurred in the United States in 1970s to 1990s.from these studies they found out some of the reasons that led to accidents occurring in the airline industry is fatigue, the board thereafter found out that this fatigue is always caused by the pilots lacking enough sleep and being awake for a long period of time. In many cases the pilots and the crew members are not always aware of these causes of fatigue in them and the reason for this is that there are many stimuli surrounding them as they work and the stimuli may be sounds the movement of their bodies, the pilots being enthusiastic and having a great appeal to talk with each other as they work. They are reported to only notice the fatigue after the flight and even before the flight. In other cases we find that the pilots normally feel the tiredness only when the travel for very long hours after which they become exhausted and they start loosing concentration and this is found to be main cause of accidents in the aviation industry (Knauth 1993).

It is also reported that the causes of fatigue in pilots makes them to undergo sharpness, uncontrolled and the impulsive shut down of their brains as they carryout their duties in the aviation industry. Scientist reveals that whether the pilot is experienced enough when they become very sleepy they are most likely top fall into slumber land regardless of the possible effects of lack of concentration thus leading to the occurrence of accidents in the aviation industry (Bink 1976).

Studies on fatigue over the past thirty years have been able to show specific contributors to this challenging issue facing pilots.

Statement of the Problem

In this case we find that fatigue carries its effect on every individual including the pilots, it normally stops many people from attaining their objectives at a particular time. This has been the main reason as to why in many accidents that occur in the aviation industry all the blames are put on the pilots, calling it a pilot error but on the pilots view the accident is normally caused by a mechanical or technical problem it may also be caused by the breakdown of the plane system and as a result of the pilots arguments we find that the manufactures accept the blame. There are many studies being done concerning this issue of fatigue and how it affects the performance of the pilots, since most of the accidents occurring in the aviation industry are said to be caused by fatigue on pilots (Boser 2002).

Significance of the Study

Printup (2000) sates that many issues have been brought up on the issue of fatigue on pilots by many researchers; one of the issues that have been brought up is the boring environment caused fatigue which is a form of stress in most working places such as long working hours in the aviation industry. This study will therefore shed more light on the existing relationship between fatigue and safety in the aviation industry. The paper will also cover the factors that are considered as the leading contributors in the occurrence of fatigue on pilots that contributes to the failure in the performance of the pilots in the aviation industry. In normal circumstances stress is a negative reaction of the body towards a certain demand it can also be sociological and physiological and sociological tension of the body; this implies that pilots and crewmembers are not spared by the negative consequences of fatigue (Printup 2000).

This study therefore will enhance the professional knowledge and competence of those working in the aviation industry in many ways. The pilots will be able to know the effect of pilot fatigue and safety. Further this research will enlighten the pilots, crewmembers on issues relating to fatigue. Furthermore, the management of any airline firm will benefit from this research study in that, they will be able to put in place suitable policies and regulations that curb fatigue and hence enhance airline safety.

Research Objectives

The major objective of this study is to indicate the relationship between fatigue and airline safety particularly the effects that fatigue has on pilots and other crewmembers who are the key participants in the airline industry. Further the research will shed more light on the various causes of fatigue and how they affect the airline safety.

The specific objectives of this study are as follows:

  • Describing the occurrence of fatigue on pilots in the aviation industry.
  • Identifying the causes of fatigue on the pilots
  • To investigate how the causes of fatigue affect the performance of the pilots in the aviation industry.
  • To analyze the strategies used in an effort of reducing the cases of fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry.
  • Designing an appropriate solution to the reduction of fatigue in pilots and make a recommendation

Research Questions

The major question of this study is to find out whether fatigue and airline safety has any relationship with regards to the high number of airline accidents being witnessed presently. The other specific questions of this research will include the following;

  • How does fatigue affect the pilots’ performance?
  • What are the leading factors to fatigue in the aviation industry?
  • Clearly indicate the signs that are found in a pilot who is found to be fatigued?
  • Do the pilots who are fatigued carry out their daily duties in the aviation industry?
  • According to the airline operations authorities how do they commend on this issue of fatigue on the pilots?

Limitations of the study

This research will be done under the pressure of some constraints which include time, this indicates that the study will involve a vast number of populations that the researcher will find difficulties in the allocation of time, the other factor is funds, and substancial money resource will be required to facilitate the study.

Research Hypothesis

The hypothesis of this study indicates enough evidence has been brought up claiming that fatigue is normally linked widely to the safety in the aviation industry, while the alternative hypothesis shows that there is no link between fatigue on pilots and the safety in the aviation industry.

Literature Review

Research clearly defines stress as a negative effect that impacts the performance of particular individuals in their working environments this includes pilots in the aviation industry. An airline is one of the most areas that are affected by the issue of fatigue which is believed to be caused by a number of factors in the airlines working environment. As a result of globalization we find that there have been drastic changes in the aviation industry and his is believed to be causing various challenges to the pilots in the industry, these challenges are also reported to be a form of fatigue on the pilots in the aviation industry (Folkard 2002).

Causes of fatigue among the pilots

Dawson (1997) clearly indicates that many accidents occurring in the aviation industry has its blames always directed towards the pilots as their liability. Who later on claim that it was technical or mechanical hitch but in real sense they are caused by fatigue. At this stage we find that fatigue among pilots come up as a result of various challenges in workplace (Dawnson 1997). Research indicates that economic challenges present in the aviation industry has made many aviation organisation to close their businesses, some of them are found to be bankrupt while others practice merging which has led to changes of the working rules and the loss of employees in the organisation. This loss of employees has therefore led to the existing pilots to be overworked with a less payment. The other cause of challenges in the aviation industry is the hiking of the fuel costs that has led to the reduction of over capacity and forcing the pilots to fly more flights in a day thus increasing their plane utilization to recover the cost incurred in the fuelling of the plane, these organizations do this not minding that the pilots get exhausted while carrying out their duties (Phillips 1997).

The other factor leading to the challenges in the aviation industry is the expansion of the international markets where organizations base on the profit maximization through a pure domestic scheduling; as a result of this we find that the airline industries have the interest of flying to longer destinations which actually requires the pilot to increase his or her physical demands thus increasing the chances of fatigue among the pilots and the crew members (Folkard 2002). Looking at such changes and its effects on the safety of the pilots changes such as the scheduling is reported to b influencing the working and resting hours of the pilot this are just among other factors leading to the disruptions of the circadian thus causing concerns.

Folkard(2002) presents the other factor leading to fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry which is the issues of management in the organisation whereby we find that there is poor communication between the employees and the management, in many cases we find that the management of the organisation do not apply the evaluating of the workloads which has been giving rise to conflicts among the pilots and other employees in the aviation industry, from this study we find that many pilots suffer stress and fatigue as a resulting from the salary they are issued with most of the managers including those in the aviation industry are reported to be acting unfairly in terms of paying their employees and this has also been a contributing factor to stress and fatigue since the employees end up being discouraged (Folkard 2002).

Research conducted reveals that following the regulations covering the working and resting rules imposed on the aviation industry by the federal does not actually consider the physical demands of the pilots. This clearly indicates that this study will cover the largest sample of pilots and over various flying trips. The goal of this study is therefore to carry out an observation of over ten percent of each pilot’s position. It will therefore come up with updated results of over fifteen years old and also recommend that the old rules and regulations for the working of the pilots should be amended.

In the aviation industry fatigue as mentioned earlier is always linked with external factors that are either positive or negative being dependent on its effect on the individual pilots’ performance. These external factors are always regarded as the leading factor to anguish and suffering of the pilots in the aviation industry. Research indicates that there are mainly two causes of fatigue among pilots in the aviation industry and they are sociological and physiological responses of the pilots’ body (Caldwell 1997).

Types of Fatigue Experienced by Pilots

In essence, we can therefore deduce that fatigue leads to reduction in the body reserves of a pilot which ultimately leads to poor performance in terms of concentration. Fatigue mainly lowers pilot’s efficiency in his/her daily routine. There are two main types of fatigue that pilots face: Chronic; which is mainly long-term form of fatigue and acute fatigue which is mainly short-run in nature.

Caldwell (1997) reveals that chronic fatigue has psychological line and normally extends over long periods on pilots that suffer from such disorder. However, pilots who at one time have suffered from chronic fatigue indicated that they were suffering from other diseases which exhibits fatigue as the main symptom. Further research reveals that pilots with chronic fatigue tend to have several indications that include weariness, difficulty in breathing, irritability, feebleness as well as tremors associated with human heart. Normally pilots who work for longer hours tend to exhibit such kind of fatigue often. Such strain in other instances may lead to pains all over the body and thus affecting the efficiency of pilots (Caldwell 1997).

On the other hand acute form of fatigue normally affects nearly everybody and not pilots alone and it is a disorder which is short term in nature. Research reveals that acute fatigue is the most common form fatigue that attacks many pilots when compared to chronic fatigue. Normally, acute fatigue is experienced by pilots due to the nature of their work; for instance long working (flying) hours tend to lead to exhaustion. For instance, doctors recommend a rest after eight hours of working in order to avoid fatigue cases. However, it should be noted that pilots are mainly attacked by skill fatigue which is as a result of disruption in timing of pilot’s activities and concentrating more on moving objects due to the nature of pilots work.

Research indicates that the above types of fatigue are therefore divided into various types of fatigue that occur to pilots in the aviation industry and they include:

  • Physical fatigue: this normally refers to the fatigue that occurs as a result of the following factors: aching of the body muscles, inadequate oxygen, lack of a balanced diet, exhaustion and even sickness.
  • Mental fatigue: this type of fatigue normally occurs when an individual is subjected to a duty that requires a lot of concentration and higher technological know-how in the aviation industry. The best example of these duties is a situation where a pilot is given the responsibility of considering the instrument flight rules while taking a single pilot flight at night.
  • Emotional fatigue: this is a type of fatigue that comes up as a result of being tired as a result of working under psychological disturbing environment. This type of fatigue is always seen when the pilots in the aviation industry carry out a continuous complaining and arguments both at home at their workplaces.

Fatigue and Safety

Research indicates that there are many factors leading to the occurrence of fatigue among pilots in the aviation industry, some of the factors are the social and physiological contributors these factors are reported to be both external and internal which may be Self this normally involves an individual characteristics such personality and behaviour may cause stress in an individual (Caldwell 1997). Some individual characters such as impatience are said to be the causing agents of stress to most of the pilots in the aviation industry this may lead to poor performance of the pilots thus causing accidents in the airlines industry. In this case we also find that an individual’s behaviour contributes to the occurrence of stress among the pilots, these behaviour may be addiction to alcohol and substance which are said to be causes of fatigue in a person.

The other factor may be leading to fatigue among the pilots is competition in this case we find that many pilots overwork themselves with an ambition of gaining a positive image and thus they do a lot of work beyond their own abilities this normally leads to stress and exhaustion and at the end of the day they cause accidents in the aviation industry. Social factors may also be the cause of stress among the pilots in this industry his ay family problems and socio-economic and social environment which include noise which turns out to be irritating and causes headache and exhaustion may also cause stress leading to fatigue among the pilots (Dawnson 1997).

Apart from the above mentioned there is another type of fatigue affecting the pilots in the aviation industry which is the cumulative fatigue, it is always caused by lack of enough rest, and this has various causes which may include workplace factors or even external factors. This type of fatigue is always reported as a threat to the safety of the aviation industry, in this case the aviation authorities and federal at large have been trying to curb this issue of cumulative fatigue in the aviation industry with an ambition of reducing accidents in the industry (Boser 2002).

Evidence of Fatigue as Major Cause of Aviation Accidents

NTSB (2004) deduces that in the recent past, fatigue has become one of the main causes of aviation accidents in the world. The main question has been however, whether the pilots themselves understand what fatigue entails and its effects to their work performance. Even though pilots receive wide criticisms on fatigue related accidents, research reveals that authorities responsible should be held accountable on such accidents since they ought to provide pilots with manageable responsibilities; for instance, working in shifts or for shorter hours among other factors that minimizes fatigue among pilots (NTSB 2004).

Since fatigue has been attributed to such aviation accidents, perhaps the most intriguing question is that of how pilots can understand that they are suffering from fatigue. It should be noted that such accidents can only be minimized if the pilots themselves understand the effects of fatigue and how it can be managed; for instance pilots and crew members should understand the key role of sleep cycles and being “fresh” in the course of their duties in order to reduce aviation accidents happenings.

There have been allegations that most doctors particularly company doctors have embarked on public relation exercise in order to save blur their employers i.e. their airline and pilots involved in accidents from government punishments and lose of business. Such doctors have perfected this by attempting to cover up the signs of fatigue to be that of other diseases.

Further, some authorities too such as that of the United States (Air Transport Association) have vehemently denied that fatigue is one of the major causes of aviation accidents; in fact in the year 1996, the association resisted the FAA suggestions of instituting new policies that ensured proposed resting time for both pilots and crew members. Such trend of opposition and doctor’s unethical tactics therefore, is uncalled for and can be considered to be absurd and dangerous to passengers using the airlines.

The most current accident associated with fatigue is that of American Airlines Flight, 1420 which occurred in the year 1999. During the accident the pilot was reported to have lost control thus overrunning the airport runaway and thus causing a major impact. Over ten passengers comprising the plane captain perished while over 100 people who were on board was reported to have sustained severe injuries. During that period of occurrence of the accidents there were heavy rain accompanied with thunderstorm; a factor which airport authorities attributed the accident to. Many analysts however, linked such accident to fatigue of the pilot and they felt that only the presence of heavy rains and thunderstorm enhanced the occurrence of the accident (NTSB 2004).

According to current research conducted it is reported that in the fifty years most of the airline accidents are caused by the pilots’ faults reports indicates that in the back in the 1950 years over fifty percent of the accidents that occurred in the aviation industry came up as a result of the errors arising from the pilots. Reports indicate that in 1960s it was the pilot errors that contributed the great portion of airline incidents and it was recorded at 56%. The incidents reduced slightly from 56% in 1960s to 45%, 46% and 45% in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s (Boser 2002).

These pilot errors were found to be inclusive of various intoxications, social and personal issues, and substance abuse among other causes of fatigue. Studies indicate that fatigue is usually associated with various physiological reactions; these reactions may be hormonal, circulatory and even digestive problems and psychomatic reactions among others. In this case we find that psychological reactions are normally associated with the main cause of accidents in the aviation industry since they lead the pilots’ loss of memory and thinking capabilities, this may also lead to anxiety and depression which are believed to be the most dangerous factors leading fatigue among the pilots (Boser 2002).

The Effects of Fatigue on Pilots in the Aviation Industry

Fatigue with relation to airline safety has the following negative consequences

Faulty Behavior

Caldwell (1997) defines a faulty behaviour as a character that is always related to intentional wrong doing of the pilots while at their duties, this comes up as a result of lack of knowledge and information on a particular area of their duties. This behaviour comes out as a well planned deal among the pilots and when one of them goes off course it actually leads to failure in their performances and may lead to the occurrence of accidents. In many the pilots engage in these activities without thinking consciously, in this case we find that many pilots normally perform other functions without reasoning or making a decision which may finally lead to the occurrence of accidents (Caldwell 1997).

Misjudgement may also occur as a result of fatigue in many pilots, these misjudgements may be on heights, the distance and other factors that are related to the piloting duties and this is always termed as a faulty behaviour in the aviation industry. The other fault behaviour caused by fatigue among pilots is violation; here we may find that a fatigued pilot is always prone to violating the rules and regulation of the aviation industry

Low Production Levels

Boser (2002) states that when a pilot reports to his duties when fatigued his body normally undergoes the following biological problems, in many cases the circadian rhythm is basically affected by various external factors which include the fluctuation in temperature and lighting in the course of the day, in this case we find that the body always find its own way of matching the body cycle of sleeping and awakening with those of the changing external factors the pilots face while working. This is the reason as to why according to the surveys conducted we find many pilots claiming that it is the night flights are the major causes of fatigue in them thus making them not to be productive while carrying out their duties in the aviation industry (Boser 2002).

The other factor that makes these pilots not to be productive is amount of work that they are located to do, in the aviation industry we find that pilots are given a lot of responsibilities that they should cover while carrying their piloting duties, in this case we find that the pilot is given the responsibility to monitor several cockpit instruments, the radio communication the surrounding traffic, the actual control of their aircraft among other responsibilities, this therefore this brings in the idea that the more the responsibilities a pilot is given the higher the chances of fatigue increasing in the pilot, while the decrease in the responsibilities the lower the occurrence of fatigue in pilots thus enhancing the productivity of the pilots in the aviation industry.

Trouble Relations with Others

Fatigue is reported to be a very sensitive issue affecting pilots in the aviation industry since it leads some pilots to be in poor working relationships with other pilots and the crew members. Some are also unable to get along well with their superiors they cause lack of team work in the industry, this has coursed them a lot of suffering in terms of loosing their concentration while working.


Many pilots who are found to be suffering from fatigue are always put in a situation where they can not make decisions as a result of loss of memory and poor concentration while carrying out their obligations. This indecisiveness may also be attributed to the management issue in the aviation industry in which the pilots are provided with unsafe supervision which is normally inappropriate, unplanned and even failure to crisis management; the best example is when a piloting supervisor does not provide enough training to the pilots or in some cases the pilots may not be allowed to attend training as a result of this actions the pilot ,may not be able to make decisions but go ahead with their duties that they have no enough experience and as a result they may be fatigued and they tend to violate some of the rules which may eventually lead to malfunctioning and thus leading to airline accidents(Boser 2002).

Verbal and/or physical aggression

Aggression is always defined as an act of done by an individual with an intention of harming the other person. In this instance the aggressor is always informed that his character can harm their victim but in many cases the victim is always aware of the action can actually avoid the behaviour. The question to ask here is how does the fatigue lead to aggression among the pilots in the aviation industry? Fatigue caused by long working hours may make a pilot become aggressive even towards his crew members which may lead to misunderstandings among the team member who may fail to deliver their duties perfectly and as a result it may lead the occurrence of accidents.

Substance/ alcohol consumption

Since fatigue is characterized by lack of sleep and restlessness many individuals including pilots claim that for them to settle the restlessness occurring they have to consume alcohol or even substances which they say that they help to cool down the body system and make them relax, so when the pilots engage in this consumption their attentiveness and concentration is always affected and thus they fail to perform their piloting duties, through which the chances of causing accidents are always high.

Controlling the Causes of Fatigue in the Aviation Industry

Since fatigue comes up as result of stress among the pilots in the aviation industry, it is always recognized when the pilots mind is not thinking freely; in many cases we find that the pilot feels agitated in companion with body fatigue. Research indicates that many pilots claim to be stressed with the duties and the aviation industry has been in a position of getting various techniques that has been helping them to reduce the occurrence of stress among the pilots. The following are the techniques that are always applied in the combating of fatigue are as follows:

Mentoring: this is a technique that is always focused on the improvement of the pilots experience in the specified area of his work; it involves the placement of the most experienced pilots together with those who are of less experience so that they can learn and get more experience regarding their jobs. (Cole 1997)

In this case of mentoring we find that the aviation industry has been able to identify the weaknesses of its pilots by carrying out surveys by issuing them questionnaires and conducting interviews on the various job experiences and know the areas that need to be improved.

Motivation-pilots in the aviation industry face fatigue as a result of the existing de-motivational factors in their working environments. Research indicates that pilots who are less motivated in jobs are always stressed and thus their chances of being fatigued are very high as compared to those who are highly motivated. The reasons as to why some of the pilots in the aviation industry are de-motivated are personal issues where an individual may just develop a negative perception to their duties saying that the work is very complicated, the other reason is that the pilot may not be able to adopt the changes that have been introduced in the industry this clearly indicates that the pilots who believe that their job is complicated are always subjected to fatigue (Palmer and Akin 2006). So to handle this issue how does the motivational technique help in the reduction of the causes of fatigue in an individual pilot are as follows; the provision of sufficient training and occupational development for the pilots and the crew members. The other factor is the introduction of the rewarding system to the pilots who are reported to be performing better this will automatically lead to the improvement of the performance of the employees who are de-motivated whereby they will have an ambition of being rewarded for the better performance of their duties. Involvement of the pilots in the decision-making process by the managers this will make the pilot realize that they are always recognized in the organisation. The other motivational factor is that of job rotation this technique is normally applied to the pilots who are found to be having a poor relationship with those who are highly ranked as seniors to the pilots, these pilots are always given different duties with different supervisors and new offices this will also help in the reduction of the trouble with others as a factor leading to fatigue among the pilots.

Looking at the motivation factor we find that there are various theories that provide their ideas on the application of motivation on employees in organizations. One of these theorists is David McClelland who defined the drivers for motivation and their importance in any organisation, therefore in this study we will coordinate these drives on how they can used to reduce stress and avoid fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry. McClelland came up with a total of four drivers that he believed were essential to have an effective motivation on employees in an organisation such as the aviation organizations, these four factors are motivation, power, affiliation, achievement and competence motivational drives. (Thomson and Rampton 2003)

Achievement Motivational Drivers

These are objectives and rules set by an organisation so that employees such as the pilots should adhere to so that they achieve the objectives of the firm. In this drive we find that pilots are always working to their best so that they can be recognized to be the best employees in the aviation industry but at the end of the day they overwork themselves and suffer from fatigue. In many circumstances organizations applying this drive always set goals for the employees saying whoever meets the goal will be compensated for the hard work (Palmer and Akin 2006). So how does this drive help in the reduction of fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry, since research indicates that many pilots get exhausted by the duties they are subjected to, they say that they overwork themselves but earn very little money this is therefore clear factor leading to stress and fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry, so to solve this the aviation industry is advised to apply this drive to motivate the employees to work.

Affiliation Motivational Drivers

This motivational driver is normally used in an organisation to build relationships in the organisation on a social basis, this drive actually requires the management team to engage in praising the employees on each and every effort they put while carrying out their duties, in this case it is reported those employees who are always praised will always perform better and will develop a positive attitudes towards their careers and engage in team work in the organisation, the same case applies on the pilots, when the pilots are praised there are more chances of them being motivated to do more on their duties and thus there is the reduction of factors that causes fatigue on them (Colquhoun 1976).

Competence Motivational Drivers

This is an action where an employee’s works very hard to be rated as the first one in performing his or her duties, this type of motivational drive is normally set up in organisation to allow the employees to apply their technological know-how while carrying out their duties and also in solving various problems without being supervised, this therefore makes the employees to enjoy their work and thus they cannot get tired carrying out their daily duties since they are allowed to be creative and innovative.

Power Motivational Drivers

This drive in many organizations including the aviation industry engages the employees in the creation of particular forces that brings changes to particular issues in this case we find that the employees are given the mandatory to become excellent leaders with an ambition of benefiting the organisation at large. The advantage in this drive is that the employees including the pilots in the aviation industry always feel that they are in charge of their duties and that they have the choice to do what is right and at the right time, it actually reduces the cases of overworking thus reducing the chances of them being fatigued (Colquhoun 1976).


In many circumstances we find that the aviation industries have been compensating or rewarding their pilots on the basis of their performances and this has been counted to one of causal factors of stress among the pilots, and to handle this issue the aviation organizations are therefore urged to be rewarding their employees according to their performances, this will be a way of motivating the employees to avoid working stresses. Therefore, for compensation to be effective the aviation organizations should enhance accurate and significant rewarding measures, which will enhance a better performance of the pilots because if the measures are not realistic then the performance will not improve. the aviation industry should also try the personalization of the compensation scheme through which the managers will be required to conduct interviews that will enable them get the information on the performance of the pilots and therefore decide in which reward measures should be implied to motivate the pilot for the benefit of reducing stress cases among the pilots in the organisation.

Creation of Teamwork

The aviation industry has been reported to be encouraging its pilots to work as a team especially for those pilots who have created a negative attitude towards their duties, the objective of the organizations doing this is that they the pilots who have less interest on their jobs. This teamwork will therefore enhance unity among the pilots in the aviation industry through this teamwork we find that when an efficient and meaningful teamwork of pilots is enhanced in the aviation industry then there will be the surety that all the information about the organisation is passed to all the pilots which will enhance a better understanding of the company’s objectives and goals (Boser 2002). Therefore the aviation industry should be aware that to come up with a better and productive team work it requires the efforts of all the people in the firm through which everyone is given an opportunity to come up with ideas that may be helpful in the reduction of fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry, the reason for team work is that everyone’s opinion is always put into consideration and thus reduces the chances of stress on the pilots. The other advantage of teamwork is that it is regarded as the best way of handling stress as compared to the counselling which is a theoretical perspective.

Change Management

Palmer and Akin, (2006) indicate that human beings carry the habit of resisting change whether the change is good or not the reason for this is that when an individual gets used to one working condition it will be very difficult to adopt various changes that are found to be affecting his daily operations, this resistance may actually come up in either the personal life or at the work place. We find that resistance to change by pilots in the aviation industry is one of the major causes of stress which eventually leads to fatigue among the pilots (Palmer and Akin 2006). It is reported that any changes that occur in any organisation including that of the aviation industry it is normally done on the basis of improving its service delivery, so this process normally requires the management team in the organisation to have a change implementation that is well planned, consulting first the people who are most likely affected by the change. In many cases when a change is forced on employees such as pilots they are most likely to bring issues that may affect the performance of the employees, therefore for this reasons the change to be implemented should be done in the most realistic way, it should be attained and measured by the organizational management team, the change should also be timely through which the pilots should be educated on the importance of the change and through this education the pilots are therefore psychologically prepared to deal with the change in the organisation. Research reveals that pilots only accept changes when they are clearly defined to them and whatever the intention of the change should be true to win the trust of the pilot (Palmer and Akin 2006).

Mental control

This is a mechanism that should be used by the pilots to ensure that they perform their duties perfectly and not having a negative attitude towards their social life and the jobs. For the pilots to avoid the occurrence of fatigue in them then they should do the following: Plan their duties without making themselves a slave to their duties, objectives, or the organizations’ goals, they should also think positively while maintaining positive mental attitude, activities without becoming a salve to your own plans or objectives or to those of others. They should be able to accept corrections and mistakes that they commit while carrying out their duties this will enable them to be free from the guilt conscience by practicing relaxation and daily meditation thus easing them from daily routines.

Bodily control

The pilots should also consider taking care of the needs of their bodies, this means that they should choose to keep themselves healthy by eating and drinking health foods, taking enough rest, socializing with others, paying attention to the needs of others, having regular bodily exercise, not using toxic substances not unless they are prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Environmental Management

This is the management of both working and family environments, this may include reduction of noises, the living space should be large enough, and the environment should be clean enough to enhance a good health, should ensure that there is enough time for relaxation, and save some time for family and having better relationships with other employees in the organisation. All these will help reduce the chances of an individual pilot being stressed and thus avoiding fatigue in general leading to a better productivity.

Work-life Balance

Research indicates that many pilots normally face stress and fatigue at their workplace as a result of their impossibilities of balancing the work and their family responsibilities, whereby we find that most of them have turned their jobs to be the most important factor in their lives forgetting their responsibilities back at home, and at the same time they are reported to be facing stress as a result of them neglecting their family responsibilities, and this lowers their productivity at work (Palmer and Akin 2006). So how does the organisation deal with issue to ensure that there is a balance between the employees work and social lives, therefore the aviation industry should apply the following in order to enhance a balance in the work and life of the pilots:

Enhancement of satisfied employees

For any organisation to be successful in the reduction of causes of stress among its employees, it has to ensure that it creates a satisfied workforce in order for them to be motivated to work and be productive in the organisation, for this to happen the management team should therefore provide a safe working environment and also the provision of a better working time schedule to make the pilots work at a flexible time and not feel like they are being overworked on top of this they should also be given an opportunity to carryout their family responsibilities thus creating a better work-life balance among the pilots and this enhances the reduction of causes of stress at their work place.

Job security

Palmer and Akin 2006 state that Job security is an issue that should be heavily considered by the management in the assurance of reducing stress and fatigue levels among the pilots in the organisation. Job security is used a tool for ensuring that the pilots are assured of their job security, these employees normally want to work in environment that has no future for them, and for these reasons we find that at the time of recruitment the management teams are obligated to mention the type of employment that the organisation is offering to the new employees (Palmer and Akin 2006). This action should be put in practice because in many instances we find that individuals are socially organized only when they are assured of the security of their employment.

Pay satisfaction

This is also another issue that should be considered, the reason for this is that no employee including the pilots would want to perform better at their duties if they are not satisfied with his payments. Therefore, the organisation needs to create a better payment system that is productive on both the employees and the organisation.

Creation of policies that are family supportive

When organizations such as those in the aviation industry come up with policies that are always family supportive to their employees tend to create a good relationship between the organisation and the employees (Palmer and Akin 2006). In many cases these policies are mostly meant to help the employees who are needy that need a great support for them, these policies include the creation of programs such as the employer-sponsored childcare program. It is therefore reported that such policies are used to motivate the employees to perform better in their duties because some of the stressing burdens in their families have been relieved off them and that they are satisfied with the policies in the organisation.

Technology In Relation to Fatigue among Pilots

To ensure the reduction of accidents and safety of the pilots it is reported that the aviation industry has been in a position of making a better-quality management policy that has enabled them to make a good use of the resources available to them. One of the policies is the purchasing of quality planes using the latest technology. Research indicates that the improvement of technology has taken a center stage globally through which we find that technology has been used by the aviation industry to improve the safety of the pilots and also reduce the instances of fatigue on pilots as a result of the technology that eases and reduces the duties of the pilots while carrying out their duties. As a result of this we will look at various technologies that have been used in the aviation industry to enhance the safety of the pilots and the crew members at large thus reducing the incidents of accidents in this industry. The technologies used are as follows:

The Vertical Situation Display

This is a technology normally implemented to be used by airplanes to approach landing, it shows a magenta line on the screen when the plane takes a glide slope. It is basically a line displaying the vertical position of the plane as it starts landing on the runway, it starts by showing the axis and the angle at which the plane is landing. This technology is reported to be so effective in the reduction of crash landing this technology is usually found in the Boeing planes and its objective is to enhance safe landing even though pilot might be tired or fatigued.

Local Area Argumentation System

The aviation industry has been in a position of maintaining the safety of planes whenever they may be flying on a complex and flight curve measures with a n ambition of helping the pilots to get rid of residential areas that are noisy and maintaining a safe separating area between airplanes. This system is reported to be monitoring any signal that may be coming from the satellite systems that are globally positioned after which it compares the signals with its locations that are surveyed, thereafter it enabled to spread the correct information by broadcasting them to the well-equipped planes. The objective of this technology is that it enhances safety in the aviation industry by preventing the collusion of planes in the space and also it enhances proper landing even when the procedures for curved landing are complicated. this are some of the issues that some of the pilots find to be difficult in handling while carrying out their duties were it not for the invention of such technologies (Bink 1976).

The Synthetic Vision Flight Display System

This system is found to be enabling the pilots to view the world by the use of the global proximity warning system database that usually reveals the terrain, the existing obstruction and even the airports that exist. The functionality of this system usually takes place at the time of takeoff and landing it is found to be more effective when the weather brings low visibility to the pilots on what is ahead of them, this has actually been able to improve the operating quality by the pilots normally in cases where the conditions of the weather are not favourable for the operation of flights. This technology has been helpful in the reduction of fear among the pilots operating in harsh conditions. We also find that this system has flight path guidance that present a virtual path on the screen that mandates the pilot to follow especially in the harsh weather conditions, this actually help in avoiding the diversion of the pilots from the flight routes that should be followed thus allowing a smooth flow of the work of the pilot thus improving the quality of control and thus avoiding accidents that might occur as a result of fatigue caused by the pilot straining to find the right route to fly. This system is also reported to be inclusive of the infra-red camera that is integrated in the system to be able to show the overlay picture of the scenes found ahead of the plane, there are also sensors which are meant to indicate to the pilot the weather and even lighting conditions that are surrounding the plane.

The Autopilot Systems

This is another technology that is found in the current airplanes that has been able to reduce the workloads for the pilots in the aviation industry, this system is used to carry out the duties of the piloting that is it pilots the plane automatically, this has made the pilots to no longer sit at the cabin crew and fly the plane since the autopilot is usually set in a way that it control the flight. This system is found to lead the plane in the right course without the intervention of the pilot. The autopilot is reported to be taking the plane in the pre-set direction regardless of the weather conditions, but in case of any changes the plane is always returned to the right direction, in many cases pilots have been complaining that changes in the weather condition has really been stressing them and thus they get fatigued with their duties, this autopilot technology has made the pilots’ job easy and not stressing because the plane is automatically controlled nit considering the weather changes.

So how is the system enhanced to carry out these duties, the autopilot is found to be using the sensors actuators which can control the flight by allowing the harsh factors and then regulating them to operate under a normal operating environment. The presence of the pilot and the cabin crew is always required especially at the time of taking off and also landing since the autopilot does not perform these duties, but it takes a full control of plane when it is in the air reports indicates that this autopilot system has played a major role in the reduction of incidents of accidents in the aviation industry since the pilots do not take control of the flight for a long period of time.

Research Methodology

This section of the research paper indicates the research methodology that was applied in this study. It includes the research design, the methods used for data collection and the instruments that were employed in the research and the sampling and data analysis techniques that were used in this research.

Research Design

The research design applied in this research was a descriptive research design; this design provided a range of research objectives.

The research design method used was that of descriptive research design. Descriptive studies provide an assortment of research goals for instance; depiction of happening or distinctiveness linked to subject populace (what, who, when, how, and where of a subject), approximates of the extent of a population with such features and unearthing of relations among diverse variables.

This method is chosen for the study so as to show characteristics of the study population and how the variable of fatigue had influenced safety in the airline industry.


The population of interest in this study consists of ten thousand American Airlines Pilot force and one thousand questionnaires will be issued to find out responses and views on fatigue and airline safety. This population is chosen since it provides a readily available data source for the information needed to carry out analysis for the research. This population is frequently exposed to airline safety hazards. Time and cost is limited to the researcher, American Airlines Pilot which totals ten thousand in number, will be chosen to be the target population of the study since the researcher could easily get the required data without spending a lot of resources as well as within a short time.


For this study, a sample of 50 pilots was selected from any region in the world and for this to be done the national register was used in the identification of the pilots from various airlines.

Systematic sampling procedure was utilized in selecting the fifty respondents from airlines identified. Under systematic sampling technique, the pilots were arranged in a particular manner under which fifty pilots were given the questionnaires and were expected to fill and return them in a span of not more than four weeks.

Data Collection Methods

Data was collected using a questionnaire technique, which had:

  • Closed ended questionnaires
  • Open ended questionnaires

In this case the questionnaires were divided in to two sections as follows; the first section was the general questions that helped the respondents to grasp the whole idea of the research that was being carried out. The second part was questions regarding fatigue, airline safety and their relationships.

Data Analysis Techniques

After collecting the data the researcher applied the Statistical Package Social Scientists for the grouping of the data into subsets by way of descriptive statistics that gave clear and conclusive deductions. The collected data was analyzed by the use of percentages and means and was presented in the form of tables and pie charts that showed the effect that fatigue has on the safety of the aviation industry as was indicated by the respondents, the techniques utilized were self-explanatory and represented the response rates as well as the variables that the study considered.

Data analysis and findings

The data acquired from the respondents was analyzed using various techniques; the researcher tabulated the results and used percentages to analyze the data before doing any explaining.

Table 1 indicating the number of male and female pilots that participated in the research study.

Gender Number Percentage
Male 30 60
Female 20 40

In this study all the respondents gave their answers and opinions the reason for this is that the researcher concentrated on pilots alone in the aviation industry. The report shows that 60% of the respondents were male pilots while 40% were female as indicated by the above table.

Table 2 indicating whether the respondents are happy in their workplace.

Response Number Percentage
yes 20 40
No 30 60

From the table above it can be noted that 60% of the pilots claimed not to be happy at all in their workplace while 40% said that they were happy. It is evident from the response that majority of the workers might have been only in the company because they have nowhere to secure other jobs.

Table 3 indicating whether the Fatigue has an impact on the pilots’ performance.

Response Number Percentage
yes 40 80
No 5 10
No response 5 10

The table above clearly indicates that most of the respondents claimed that fatigue is one of the factors leading to inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the flight operation thus leading to the occurrence of accidents in the aviation industry. In fact, 80% indicated that they agreed that fatigue was the key in-thing leading to failure in their operations while 10% of respondents indicated that fatigue plays no role while the rest 10% did not respond to the questionnaire.

Table 4 indicating whether they have ever been motivated to work in the aviation industry.

Response Number Percentage
yes 15 30
No 30 60
No response 5 10

The above table represents the evidence that many pilots have never been motivated to carry out their duties that is 70% of the respondents said that they have never been motivated to work while 30% said that they have really been motivated at one time in the workplace while 10% of the pilots did not reply.

Table 5 indicating how the pilots are Motivated in the workplace.

Response Number Percentage
House allowance 2 13.3
payment 5 33.3
Praise 1 6.7
Gifts 2 13.3
Leave allowance 3 20
Delegation of duties 2 13.3

From the table above we find that from the fifteen respondents who had indicated earlier in the above table that they were once motivated 33.3% of the respondents cited pay as the motivator, 20% indicated leave allowance as the motivator, 13.3% apiece indicated that their motivators was delegation of duties, gifts and house allowance respectively, while 6.7% of the respondents indicated praise as their form of motivation.

Table 6 indicating respondent’s view whether the organization prevents the occurrence of fatigue in them while carrying out their duties.

Response Number Percentage
yes 10 20
No 40 80

We find that 80% of the responds claimed not to be protected from the attacks of fatigue while carrying out their duties indicated that their organization did not motivate them at well while only a mere 20% indicated that most of the aviation industries have implemented a good motivational structure. From the above table therefore, it is evident that many of the pilots in aviation industry are pleased with the motivational structures put in place in their organisation.

Table 7 indicating relationship between respondents and the management.

Response Number Percentage
Excellent 2 4
Good 10 20
Average 15 30
Poor 15 30
No Response 8 16

The table above clearly indicates that there is poor relationship between the pilots and management in the aviation industry and that the management team in the aviation industry should do something to improve the performance of the employees thus avoiding the cases of stress and fatigue in the daily operations of the pilots. The table indicates that 30% of the respondents claimed that their relationship with the management in their aviation organization was average and poor respectively. 20% of the pilots specified that the relationship was good, 16% provided no answer to the question, but only 4% of the respondents found their relationship with management team to be excellent.

Table 8 indicating respondent’s view on whether stress is the key factor leading to their poor performance in aviation industry.

Response Number Percentage
yes 50 100
No 0 0
No Response 0 0

From the table above we find that all the respondents tremendously approved that stress is indeed a key factor that impacts their performance in their workplace. Such a response indicates that managers ought to sit down and clearly embark on finding out the causes of stress among the pilots in the aviation industry. From this result the pilots claimed that motivation is indeed the only driving force required and that is they were motivated enough to work the chances of stress could have been reduced and that they could be very much committed to their works.

Table 9 indicating whether the respondents are aware that fatigue is the major cause of accidents in the aviation industry.

Response Number Percentage
yes 5 10
No 40 80
No Response 5 10

From the table above it is evident that 80% of the respondents agreed unanimously that fatigue has been the major cause of accidents in the industry and that perhaps the management of fatigue among the pilots will therefore reduce the incidences of accidents in the industry.10% of the respondents indicated that they were aware that fatigue is the major cause of accidents while 10% of the respondents did not answer the questions submitted to them with no explanations for their failure to respond. On this question those who coverer 80% of the respondents claiming that fatigue was the major reason for the occurrence of accidents in the aviation industry by citing various issues leading to fatigue they include longer working hours and also the process of operating the flight.

Table 10 indicating whether the accidents occurring in the industry are by mechanical failures.

Response Number Percentage
Yes 5 10
No 40 80
Don’t Know 5 10

From the table above 80% of the respondents indicated that they were not better paid at all when compared to other organizations, 10% apiece indicated that they did not know, and they are well paid than other organizations respectively.

Table 11 indicating the extent to which the mechanical failure contributes to fatigue among the pilots

Response Number Percentage
Greatly Contributed 25 50
Moderately Contributed 25 50
Less Contributed 0 0

The table above indicates that 50% of the pilots claim that mechanical failures contribute to fatigue as they carry out their daily operations. Such response indicates that mechanical hitches play a major role in the cause of fatigue in the aviation industry while 50% percent said that it moderately cause fatigue to them.

Table 12 indicating respondent’s view whether their organisation is aware of the occurring of fatigue among the pilots.

Response Number Percentage
yes 10 20
No 40 80

The above results indicate that 20% of the pilots claim that their organisation has been aware of the fatigue crisis and that nothing has been done while 80% of the respondents claimed that the issue of fatigue has not been aware of the crisis as a result of managerial issues in the organisation.

Table 13 indicating opinion whether fatigue and stress should be handled in the aviation industry.

Response Number Percentage
yes 50 0
No 0 0

All the respondents unanimously indicated that the issue of fatigue ought to be handled. Perhaps such action will help meet the goal of preventing accidents in the aviation industry.

Table 14 indicating whether respondents receive attention from the managers in the organization.

Response Number Percentage
yes 0 0
No 50 100

The table above shows that most of the pilots do not receive attention from the managers in the aviation industry which on the other hand when well implemented it could motivate them and thus the reduction of stress and fatigue while carrying out their duties.

Table 15 showing some of the preventive measures used in the industry to reduce the cases of fatigue among the pilots in the aviation organizations who have realised the effect of fatigue on the performance of the pilots.

Response Number Percentage
salary 15 30
counselling 35 70

From the table above we find that 70% of the respondents indicated that they were often counselled through which they were able to control the causes of fatigue in them while 30% indicated that their salaries are sometimes increased with an intention of enabling them to reduce the cases of stress among the pilots. Further the pilots said that the strategies used sometimes make them happy and thus they can do their work perfectly.

Summary of the study

This study attempted to find out the relationship of fatigue with regards to flight safety in the aviation industry. The study was intended to find out whether fatigue is the leading cause of accidents in the aviation industry. The first chapter of the study provides the background information on the study; it also presents the problem statement, the research objectives that are to be attained in the research.

Chapter one provides clearly the background of the study, statement of the problem as0 well as the research objectives to be attained in this study. Chapter two of this study gives an overview of fatigue and safety and its diverse effects in the airline industry. From this study we find that the fatigue issue does not apply to pilots only but also the crew members in the aviation industry.

Chapter three on its part provides the direction on how to gather, analyze and present data from the chosen respondents. It provides clear directions on issues like target population and the methods used to collect information among other issues. The target population comprised of fifty pilots and questionnaires were issued to find out responses and views on fatigue and airline safety.

Conclusion and Recommendations

We can therefore conclude that fatigue is one of the major problems that are affecting pilots in the 21 century. Fatigue does not affect the competence of the pilot only but also the safety of the people using airline services. Fatigue being a form of stress to a pilot it affects its performance. It can be deduced that pilot exhaustion is a potential cause of danger the airline industry particularly to flight operations. It is also evident that that there are several reasons that leads to pilots being exhausted in the airline industry; such causes include the following long working hours, circadian rhythm disturbance, lack of sufficient rest by both the pilots and the crewmembers and lack of sufficient sleep among other factors.

Therefore, stringent regulations regarding rest of pilots and crewmembers should be put in place in order to avoid accidents in flight operations. For instance, long working hours for the crewmembers and the pilots should be avoided and they should adopt rotating system or what is referred to as shifts. Furthermore, constant evaluation and assessment of centralized research actions, service hours and airline corporation arrangement strategies are required to act as corrective measures of the present universal problems (Palmer and Akin 2006). Further improved pilot and crewmembers’ guidance should be emphasized to avoid exhaustion which prevents fatigue; with such measures therefore, pilots and other crewmembers will be able to fly safely due to enough rest that they get thus in the process ensuring flights safety and confidence from the passengers.


Fatigue involves a number of factors, and these factors are the same factors cause stress in normal workplace. Some of the external and internal stress which has been emulated includes day today frustration, physical and social environment, sound tiredness, headache, irritability, uncertainty, conflicting choices, unreasonable demands, frequency complain, irritated speech and breakdown of relationships among other factors. All these factors can be very disastrous for a pilot who normally flies in dangerous terrains. These factors normally cause the air pilot to develop some problems. Fatigue like stress should be identified, well communicated, and well solved to avoid dangerous situations that may be costly for the pilots. After recognizing fatigue in a pilot then necessary steps should be taken to solve the problem or the cause of fatigue (Boser 2002).

Research indicates that many incidences of accidents occurring in the aviation industry normally come as a result of fatigue and stress to the pilots and the crew members. Therefore, to handle the issues of fatigue in this industry the management should carry out the following processes whose intention is to reduce the causes of fatigue and stress which are reported to be the causes of aviation accidents.

Crisis Management

Fatigue in the aviation industry is considered as a crisis which requires managerial interventions for it to be solved and prevented from recurring, in this case accidents occurring in the aviation industry is reported to have created alert in the media fraternity globally this has actually made the management team in the aviation industry to ensure that the cases of accidents in the airlines are reduced in order to reduce a negative image in the society and also accidents that bring panic to the public at large by taking their responsibilities to ensure safety to the pilots and the crew members as they carry out their duties (Palmer and Akin 2006).Therefore for the aviation organizations to succeed the following should be applied.

Internal Communication Strategy

This strategy will help the aviation firm in the sharing of information, experience, and ideas between the employees; this strategy is normally done through reporting, conducting meetings and communicating by use of telephones. Research states that fatigue and stress occur in pilots as a result of a result of communication in the organisation thus making it harder for the pilots to communicate in terms when they are facing stress or fatigue. From this study it is therefore recommended that the pilots face fatigue as a result of differences in culture and language, the other problem that they face is the time for communicating the problems they face with the management team and also with other employees, in this case the management team in the/ aviation industry has the responsibility of ensuring that there is a smooth communication between the employees which will enhance the pilots to be open enough to air out their views on the problem that they face as they continue with their daily operations , therefore the managers should implement regular meetings which when well-managed, will absolutely lead to the encouraging of the pilots to continue carrying out their duties regardless of the stresses that they undergo while operating their flights, this meeting will enable the management to be informed of the challenges that the pilots and the crew members face while performing their duties (Palmer and Akin 2006).

The management team should also carryout the monitoring of the employees including the pilots and finally allowing them to make decisions on the course of action to be taken to reduces the leading factors of stress and fatigue in their workplaces. When the mentioned factors are well implemented then there will be the reduction of the causal factors of stress in the aviation industry. the other recommendation for the airlines is that it should ensure that there is regular exchanging of the staff within the departments whereby decisions should be made on who should acquire different skills and in which department, this will enable the employees including the pilots to develop their skills and even acquire more technological know-how that could be used in the absence of another employees this will also help in the reduction of confusion and stress in the organization.

The managers are therefore encouraged to implement this they must have the knowledge in communicating perfectly under this the manager should ensure that the medium of communication is well planned.

Therefore, this strategy will cover very crucial issues affecting the performance of the employees such as the safety standards in the organization, the safety standard normally involves the provision of equipment for personal protection of the pilots and also considering the quality of the equipment to be used while carrying out their duties. Under this the management should ensure that the safety standard is adhered to and inspected and assessed to ensure safety for the pilots in their workplaces.

Training and Development

The management team in any airline should know that it is very crucial to incorporate this strategy and the reason for this is that it will enable the organization to meet its objectives of fighting fatigue among the pilots, the managers should therefore know that this training involves the modification of the behaviours of the workforce such as having the pilots change their attitudes towards their jobs, this behavior modification is usually done in a systematic way that involves a planned experiences, instructions and learning. In most cases the training and developing of employees in an organization such as the pilots and the crew members in the aviation industry is regarded as the calculated skeleton that an organization applies with an ambition of creating a plan that one can comprehend and digest it thus helping in the development of the performance of the employees (Palmer and Akin 2006).

The aviation industry should also implement the training and development strategy for it workforce which involves a number of processes that include; the formulating of the training policy, identifying the needs for training the employees, creation of a plan for the developing of the training, implementing the program, responsibilities and the evaluation of the training. the managers in any aviation organization should therefore know that the training and developing of its employees involve the job training of its employees formulation of a training policy, the managers in the company should carry out the training and the development process through job training which is usually practiced through the coaching of the employees who are reported to be at the low levels of rank and this will actually enable the pilots will therefore be expected to be operation under the guidance of the manager to carry out their flighting processes, to avoid stresses among the pilots while carryout their operations the management team can achieve this thorough the process of coaching under which they supervisors in the organization should ensure that the employees are not left alone to carry out their duties when they are not experienced enough (Dawson 2001). They can do this by coaching the staff at low levels in whereby such employees will be expected to learn how to do their jobs under the manager’s guidance. The supervisors should keep in mind that the employees and the crew members are not left alone but are given the opportunity to communicate with other employees in the organization; research indicates that the process of training is very important in that it ensures efficiency and effectiveness of the employees in the firm. The employees including the pilots who by then are selected should also be allowed to go for an external training this enables the employees to gain more skills in the management and technical areas in their area of job specification that requires some improvements.

Evaluation of the Training

Evaluating of the training is always considered as an important factor in the improving the performance of the employees in an organization, it actually help in the identification of whether the objectives of the training are followed or not and in some cases where no improvement have been shown then critical measures should be taken by the management. It is therefore important for the managers to ensure that the evaluation is done thoroughly by the managers and the stakeholders should be given a chance for them to be able to explain the occurrence of the performance failure that leads to the occurrence of accidents and also looking into the deep root of the problem (Palmer and Akin 2006). the following evaluation levels that occur in four stages; the first evaluation level involves the measuring of the reactions of the individuals who participated in the training of the employees especially the pilots, in this stage the management team should ensure that the participants were satisfied either poorly, fairly and even excellent, the second level normally involves the evaluation of whether the objectives of the training was actually met or not.

The third level involves the observation of various behavior changes among the employees the objective of this level is to keep an eye on the behavior change among the pilots in the aviation industry. The fourth level at this level we find that the outcome of the training program through which the expenses of training are compared to the benefits of the training.

Implementation of a Crisis Plan

For the aviation industry to succeed in the handling of fatigue among the pilots then it should come up with a better crisis plan which is always created by the following processes:

Creation of Teamwork

Palmer and Akin, (2006) recommends that the management should ensure that the employees are working as a team, this should be designed in a manner that can help handle the crisis of fatigue, in this case there will be the creation of numerous numbers of leaders who will be used as the building blocks in the management of the crisis the reason for this is that aviation industry always should have a highly responsive crisis managers and leaders who will handle the solving of disputes among the pilots and the crew members, communicating, team working and even managing issues such as stresses (Dawson 2001).

Change Management

The aviation industry has been putting more efforts in the reduction of fatigue cases on its pilots which is belied to be the causing agent of fatigue among the employees in the aviation industry. In a situation where an aviation organization is finding it hard to handle the issue of fatigue occurring on the pilots then it should implement organizational changes that is always done in various individuals such as the agents for change in the organization, the leaders may also perform the same function in the organization (Palmer and Akin 2006). The aviation industry should therefore be in a position to ensure that the change management issue is handled perfectly, and the following processes should be applied to enhance changes in the organisation.


Research indicates that employees such pilots are regarded as assets in an organisation since they are the gear to the success of the particular organisation but once they get fatigued as they carryout their daily operations in the organizations they will not be in a position of performing better and they may lead to various losses such as accidents in which many lives are lost and also the failure of the organisation they work. So, to avoid such cases the organization needs to motivate its employees through manpower planning which basically deals with the staffing of employees in an organization. In many case we might find that the pilots in the aviation industry might be facing fatigue as a result of overstaffing or even understaffing of the workforce in the organisation therefore to avoid such cases the airline firm should be able to have a better planning and this should be done by the human resource managers who have the mandate to ensure that the workforce is enough to be able to carry out their duties without being fatigued (Palmer and Akin 2006).

To ensure changes the aviation organizations should also implement the assessing of the needs of the present and the prospect employees so that they may be able to carry out a perfect retention and recruitment of its employees.


This is another change factor that the aviation industry should consider in the process of preventing the occurrence of fatigue in employees such as the pilots, in this case the organisation is therefore advised to recruit the best and qualified pilots who have the interest and personal touch on their area of specialization. To succeed in this recruitment, practice the organisation is therefore recommended to apply the job-fit practice through which the management ensures that the new employees do not go through training to gain experience, but they allow the employees to use their experiences and skills in carrying out their duties, under this the airlines should therefore employ individuals who have an upright moral and, in a position, to meet the needs and objectives of the organisation.

The airline should therefore be in a position to understand that the importance of the management of change which is to determine the analysis of the workloads that the employees have been assigned to. The organisation can do this by seeking advice from external expertise that can assist them to get the skilled and experienced employees.

The second procedure is the creation of a positive attitude through which the mentees are always encouraged as they continue with their learning. This encouragement normally brings in motivation and thus developing a positive attitude towards their duties and thus building confidence in them (Dawson 2001).


Bink (1976) confirms that to manage change among the pilots in airlines, the organisation should carryout mentoring which is defined as a process of placing more than two employees to work together in an organisation and the aim of this approach is to enable those who have a less experience to gain more experience in other words it might be termed as a way of training in an organisation but with not much ado. In this case the person mentoring is always referred to as a mentor and the one being trained is called a mentee, the mentor in this case is reported to have a vast experience and skills in the field of his specialization (Bink 1976).

Therefore, the organizations are recommended to carry out the mentoring in the following procedures: the first one is the fair target setting under which the mentor is expected not to put high expectations on the mentee because it might end up to be annoying and discouraging. In this mentoring process the mentor is therefore expected to come up with his own outline that will indicate the task that should be performed daily. From this study we find that mentoring plays a major role in any organization including the aviation industry in that it can be used during the transitional periods since it allows the less experienced individuals to learn more from the experienced ones, it also carries the duties of training and development of employees in an organisation since the new employee is always put in a position of developing mentally through which his skills and knowledge are improved.

Creation of a Plan

Research indicates that airlines should always maintain a uniform set of rules that should be used in the management of crisis such as fatigue in relation to the occurrence of accidents in the aviation industry. This process should involve the creation of a protocol such as making of manuals for emergency and operations that train the pilots and the crew members on how handle the issues affecting them in their daily operations (Dawson 2001).

This process entails the planning process which the aviation industry is recommended to apply when dealing with the issue of fatigue among its pilots. Planning is referred to as the process of making earlier decisions and choices with an ambition of attaining the organizational goals that are set.

Decision Making

Looking at the problem of fatigue on pilots in the aviation industry it is considered as a problem to the whole organisation and to solve this problem the organisation needs to implement the decision-making process that should be done ethically, this process should be made fairly considering the needs of the employees who are usually affected by the existing problem such fatigue.

This decision-making process can only be made successful when the managers apply the following factors while communicating with the employees. Listening; the managers should give the pilots their attention by just listening to their views on the problem they are facing. The manager should consider that it is at this stage that they will be determining root cause of the problem the pilots and the crew members are facing in the aviation industry. This research indicates that the pilots are really facing a number of issues in their working environment which makes them fatigued thereafter causing accidents, so when the management in their organisation listens to such problems and take necessary actions there will be chances of reducing the factors leading to accidents in the aviation industry (Bink 1976).

Psychological Counselling

Since fatigue is considered as a condition affecting the mental functioning of an individual thus leading to the poor performing in their duties, so the management teams in the aviation industry is recommended to use psychological counselling which is a procedure that is design to help individuals that are suffering from psychological disorders such as stress and depression by handling the causes of such conditions, the management should therefore be aware that counselling needs to be done by professionals who are skilled enough to handle various issues such as individual problems and family issues and even those arising from the workplace. The counsellor or the person handling those affected should be carrying the following abilities: skills for listening, genuine and empathy the abilities that will require giving true information to those affected such as the pilots in the aviation industry.

The management should ensure that the counsellors dealing with the pilots should engage in various that are found to be helpful to those being counselled, first of all the counsellor creates a therapeutic relationship which enhances the relating of two subjects to be good although most of the employees might find a difficulty in establishing their trust on the counsellor which may hinder the pilots not to give the whole information which they regard as private and confidential and as a result of this the management should ensure the safety of the individuals being counselled. in case of stresses affecting the pilots, the counsellor should ensure that he or she is applying the dialectal behaviour therapy which normally deals with an individual having a problem with his or her personality, this kind of therapy will clearly indicate the how the emotions of the victim are stimulated but in many cases the stimulation may not be normal, and this comes up as a result of biological aspects. The management should ensure that this therapy is carried out on a weekly basis, and this will help in bringing in solutions to the problems causing fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry. The counsellor will also be in a position of to tackle interpersonal skill and the emotional understanding of the pilots at hand and this will enable the pilots the accept the circumstances surrounding him and co-coordinating with others in the organisation positively thus leading to the changes of his characters such those of the self-esteem and defining more objectives in his or her career (Kotter 2002).

The other therapy that should be used to reduce the cases of stress and fatigue among the pilots is the family therapy because from this study we find that family issues has contributing factor in the performance of the pilots and the crew members in the aviation industry, so this type of therapy will help solve the family problems they are facing, in this case the counsellor uses the members of the pilots’ family to know the main cause of stress he is facing, the members of the family are given an opportunity give out clear information about the pilot this may include his or her personality, this allows the counsellor to know the method to be used in counselling the pilot, therefore in a situation where the pilot is facing stress and depression then the counsellor is recommended to use the supportive method of counselling whose objective is to relief the pains caused by stress and fatigue by doing this the pilot will be able to regard himself as a special member of the society since stress and fatigue subjects an individual to loneliness. Finally the last counselling method recommended to use to reduce the cases of fatigue among the pilots in the aviation industry is the cognitive therapy which opens an avenue to the pilots to be able to adjust themselves with the social problems that occur as they carryout their daily operations in the aviation industry, this method allows the victims to learn how to recognise the various problems they face that may lead to stress and fatigue (Kotter 2002).

Job Evaluation

This is a practice that is used in reducing the conflicts among the employees in relation to the salaries being issued to them the managers are always required to carryout this activity by the establishment of a better payment method that will be fair by the employees. Palmer and Akin, 2006 states that this process involves the creation of pay grades that considers factors such as education and experiences that the employees hold, the designing of the pay grades should be based on the performance of the employees such as the pilots in the aviation industry. This method is reported to be subjective in nature because some of the duties in the organisation cannot be measured but looking at the pilots’ jobs, we find that it is easier for the organisation to measure the pilot’s performance by considering the number of flights that pilot goes daily. The management team should also be aware that the job evaluation involves the ranking of duties in the organisation this will help in the reduction of employee turnover thus helping the organisation to solve issues related to the salaries that makes the pilots to be fatigued while carrying out the duties, in many cases this practice has enabled many organizations to create better and easy to understand payment structures that will motivate the employees to perform positively thus reducing stresses that come up as a result of payments (Dawson 2001).

Job Analysis and rewards

Palmer and Akin (2006) recommends the management teams in the aviation industry are therefore recommended to carryout job analysis for their employees especially the pilots with an objective of reducing the cases of stress that they face; this is a system that involves the definition of the job domain, the description of the work and also the training and development, promotions and even rewards (Palmer and Akin 2006). The management in the aviation industry should know that the process of analyzing jobs is done in a number of strategies which are as follows:

The Position Analysis Questionnaire

This is a type of questionnaires that are used by analysts that experienced enough to interview the employees that are holding their current positions. the other method that can be used for analysis is the common metric analysis which involves the analyzing of the compulsory workloads and those that are not compulsory., this questionnaire cover various issues regarding the working of the employee, and they may be questions regarding the social background of the employee, the process of making decisions and the settings of their work. Therefore, job analysis is always considered as a building to any organisation in the management of its workforce and so the aviation industries should apply this to be successful in determining the factors leading to stress among the employees especially the pilots (Palmer and Akin 2006).

Further Research

From this research we cannot conclude that we have discussed conclusively the relationship between fatigue and airline safety and therefore future research should embark on identifying major causes of fatigue and those that are more frequently associated with airline safety and other means of transport like road and rail transport sectors. Further research should also be based on their experience. Also, this study can also be replicated in the future to test the validity and the results obtained from the findings by the researcher.

List of References

Bink, B. (1976) Workload of pilots. Report of Netherlands Institute for Preventative medicine, in Shipley (1978) p54.

Boser, R.J. (2002) Human Error vs. Airborne Terrorism. Web.

Caldwell, J. (1997) Fatigue in the Aviation Environment: An Overview of the Causes and Effects As Well As Recommended Countermeasures, Pp68:932-8.Aviat Space and Environ.

Colquhoun, P. (1976) Psychological and Psychophysiological Aspects of Work and Fatigue, Activitas Nervosa Superior, 18, Pp 257-263.

Dawnson, D. (1997) Cabin safety and hours of work: developing a general risk-control model, Centre for sleep Research. Woodville- South Australia: Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Dawson, D. (2001) Field based evaluations of a work related fatigue: model based on hours of work. Transportation Research, Part F.

Phillips D. (1997) Washington Post, Crew reportedly didn’t know crash imminent: Plane’s wheels were in place for Guam Landing. The Dallas Morning News.

Folkard, S. (2002) Work Hours of Aircraft Maintenance Personnel Civil Aviation Authority. CAA Paper.

Kotter.P (2002) Eight Steps to Successful Change . Web.

NTSB (2004) Safety Study, A Review of Flight Crew Involved, Major Accidents of U.S. Air Carriers, Washington, D.C NTSB.

Printup M.B. (2000) The Effects of Fatigue on Performance and Safety. Web.

Palmer, I and Akin, G. (2006) Managing organizational change; a multiple perspective Approach. McGraw- Hill Irwin.


Open and Closed questionnaires

The researcher utilized both the following closed and open questionnaires in order to achieve the best possible findings about fatigue on pilots in the aviation industry. The following are the questionnaires that were administered:

Please tick the appropriate answer for each question provided or indicate your answer in the spaces provided;

Part A

  • What is your name? (Optional)————————————————–
  • What is your occupation? ——————————————————–
  • Please indicate your gender.
    • Male
    • Female
  • Please indicate the age bracket you fall in
    • Below 20 years
    • 20-30 years
    • 30-40 years
    • 41-50 years
    • Above 51 years
  • 5. For how long have you worked in the aviation industry?
    • Below 2 years
    • 2-5 years
    • 5-10 years
    • 10-20 years

Part B

  1. 1. Do you enjoy working currently in your place of work?
  2. 2. Have you ever heard of fatigue?
    • Yes
    • No
  3. If yes please explain what fatigue is_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
  4. Does fatigue has an impact in an organizational performance of you as an employee? In the Aviation industry?
    • Yes
    • No
    • No Response
  5. Please explain your answer ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  6. What are the causes of fatigue in your organisation? Kindly mention them.____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  7. Have you ever been motivated to work in the aviation industry?
    • Yes
    • No
    • No Response
  8. If the answer to the above question is yes, how were you motivated?________________________________________________________
  9. In your own view do you think that your company is motivating you to a satisfactory level?___________________________________________________________________
  10. What is the relationship between you as the pilots and the management in the organization i.e. Does the Relationship enhance your motivation in the workplace?
    • excellent
    • Good
    • average
    • poor
    • No Response
    • Please explain your answer; __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  11. Do you share the view that stress is the key factor leading to your poor performance in the aviation industry thus leading to accidents?
    • Yes
    • No
    • No response
  12. Give reasons for the answer that you have chosen above?________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  13. From your own opinion do you think the management in your organisation is aware.  That Fatigue is the causal factor of accidents in your industry?
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. No Response
  14. Give reasons to your answer above____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  15. Do you think you think mechanical difficulties could be the cause of accidents in the Aviation industry?
    • Yes
    • No
    • No Response
  16. Give your reasons to your answer above____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  17. Do you know the extent to which the mechanical failures contribute to the Occurrence of Fatigue among the pilots in your organization
    • Yes
    • No
    • Don’t Know
  18. Do you think the management in your organisation is aware that the pilots face fatigue as they carryout their daily operations
    • Yes
    • No
  19. Give reasons to your answer above________________________________________________________________
  20. In case where the management is aware of the fatigue crisis give your opinion. Whether the Problem should be handled or not
    • Yes
    • No
  21. Please give reason to your answer above____________________________________________________________________________________________________
  22. Do you by any chance receive attention from the managers and leaders in the organisation?
    • Yes
    • No
  23. If the answer above is yes please explain your answer___________________________________________________________________
  24. What preventive measures are used to prevent fatigue in your organization? Please mention them.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  25. Are the measures effective?
    • Yes
    • No
  26. If yes please explain how_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gantt chart

The following schedule was followed during the research study that was finished within the planned schedule.

Time (weeks) Activity undertaken
1-2 Researching on statement of the problem
3-4 Reviewing existing literature on Motivation
5 Distributing questionnaires
6-7 Collecting questionnaires, meeting with the supervisor
8 Analyzing data
9 Presentation of the project