A research study titled «A Descriptive Instrumental Collective Case Study of the Cognitive Processes Employed by Pilots-in-command During Extended, Extreme, In-flight Emergencies» is currently being conducted.  The purpose of this research is to provide an understanding of the cognitive processes (among them risk assessment, problem solving, and decision making) pilots who have experienced these extreme emergencies have used, and how they have used them, in successfully overcoming the emergency.  From this, further research will be conducted with the ultimate intent of defining training methodologies to provide more pilots with these skills.The researcher is in the process of recruiting pilots who have experienced in-flight emergencies that meet the study criteria to participate in this research….


The Research Criteria

 To better understand these participant criteria, the following definitions are provided:

«Professional Pilots-in-command» is defined as commercial pilots and corporate pilots who hold a United States FAA Commercial or ATP license, or the non-U.S. equivalent, exercising the rights and responsibilities of a PIC, and those United States military service pilots, or the non-U.S. equivalent, acting as the PIC of a military aircraft, whose primary professional training and job duties at the time of the emergency involved the airborne conduct of flight operations.

 «Extended» is defined as those emergencies of a duration that require the employment of predominantly considered, comparative, and reasoned cognitive processes as opposed to predominantly reactive processes.

 «Extreme» is defined as those emergencies of such a nature and/or complexity that manufacturer’s certified individual emergency procedures are either inadequate or invalid and the emergency is one for which the previously developed flight plan cannot be continued.

 «In-Flight» is defined as those emergencies occurring during the airborne departure, cruise, and/or approach phases of normal flight operations. 

 «Emergencies» is defined as flight operations requiring deviation from both the predetermined flight plan and the manufacturer’s normal operating procedures.

 «Successfully overcame the emergency» is defined to mean that the aircraft was ultimately returned to the ground by the PIC under either complete or partial control, and the loss of life was less than total.

 What Does Participation in this Research Study Involve?

Participation in this study will involve undergoing a single interview with the researcher about the in-flight emergency in which the participant was involved.

 What to do Next

 If you have experienced an in-flight emergency that you believe meets the study criteria and you would like to participate in the study, or if you are interested in participating in the study but have questions about it, please contact the researcher using the contact information provided below.

About the Researcher

 Clint Balog has been an aviation professional for over 33 years with experience as a flight test engineer, engineering test pilot, corporate pilot, and senior leader.  He is now a professor of aeronautical sciences with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a doctoral candidate in psychology with a specialization in aviation human factors at Capella University.

 Contact Information

Telephone: 602.502.6934  Email: clintbalog@cs.com


If you know of another pilot who has experienced an in-flight emergency that may meet the study criteria, please pass this information along to that person so he or she can consider participating in this study.