Essays on Stress

Introduction for Essay

Flight design has evolved over the past 20 years to incorporate more automatic systems. This increase in automation on the flight has added an important focus on human errors that could lead to poor decision-making due to stress factors and workload. As a result, the mental workload of aircrews and air traffic controllers has received more attention in response to stress and workload levels. Stress and Workload levels are both important to us because human errors can occur if the required mental task exceeds the capabilities of the aircrew. Indeed, the consequences of stress, workload, and human errors in-flight decision-making are essential to flight safety.

Research Paper on Stress

Stress is basically the reaction of the human body when it adapts to some type of stress. A stressor could be everything that copes us to deal with stress. It appears that a significant amount of stress is experienced by aircrews due to workload and time pressure because stress has a negative impact on the human body which limits the transmission of signals and reduces human response and performance. Whilst workload can be described as the demand that is placed on the aircrews. However, this definition is not complete because it only includes the requirements generated by external sources, such as pilots’ task is complex and difficult. Therefore, to address the complete workload, it is required to take into consideration demands which are generated internally as well, such as pilots and aircrew’s resources. Therefore, I could define workload as the demand placed on the flight crew’s mental resources used for attention, perception, reasonable decision-making, and action. Indeed, Pilots’ and aircrew’s decision-making will be affected by operational factors such as stressors, stress, and workload levels.

Argumentative Essay Examples of Stress

Stressors that may affect pilots’ ability to make acceptable and reasonable decisions include high workload, task time, pressure and limited time, heavy traffic, severe weather, last-minute plan changes, and schedule delays. These stressors increase pilots’ stress and heartbeats during flight. As a result, extensive stress on the pilot’s cognitive functioning will probably affect the pilot’s attentional focus, long-term and short-term working memory responsiveness, and rational actions that could lead to risk-taking. These will certainly influence flight decision-making through their effects on scanning and generating necessary information, detecting human errors, and evaluating the decision process. In addition, extensive stress could also affect crew communication and information channel and theory, which can interfere with sharing information, planning, and error trapping.

Thesis Statement for Stress

Researchers that examined stress and pilot decision-making illustrated that stress had a major effect on flight decisions even though expertise and perceptual knowledge are available. This is consistent with the notion that decisions are more difficult to take under stress, especially when the problem is not well understood, and no clear response is available. Going forward, it seems that flight typically induces higher levels of stress due to high workload, traffic, and a small room for error recovery, such as during takeoff and landing phases where the pilot’s heart experiences high beats due to stress. Under stress, pilots and aircrew decision-makers often fall back on familiar responses, but these responses might not be appropriate to the current flight phase. For instance, reducing power so close to the ground during takeoff in response to a vibration throughout the aircraft is not an appropriate response because insufficient time is not available for recovery. However, the same decision might have been fully appropriate at a higher altitude where the pilot’s heartbeats are much more stable.

Ideas: The Role of Stress in Decision-Making Under Flight Conditions

Another condition that may permit more time to diagnose the decision process and consider what to do such as evaluating flight communication failures. However, under stress, aircrew often acts as if they are under limited time and pressure when in fact, they are not. Indeed, human cognitive factors, operational pressures, and environmental stressors might not be sufficient to cause weak flight decisions. However, when the pilot’s and aircrew decision maker’s cognitive limits are extensively stressed, these factors may combine together to induce human error that could lead to weak decisions or probably a crash. Additionally, some pilots might be able to put personal stressors such as family matters, health problems, and financial issues out of their minds on the flight deck, while others might not be able to do so.

Evaluating and Managing Stress and Workload in Aviation

These personal stressors might affect flight decision-making by interfering with sleep, which can have negative effects on awareness, alertness, attentional focus, mood, and crew communication. These personal stressors, in conjunction with other factors such as fatigue, could lead to weak decision-making due to unforgivable human error resulting from cognitive stress or from not being able to function normally. Therefore, a psychological and physiological approach to the evaluation of the human ability to manage stress and workload should be addressed with a particular emphasis on the stress and mental workload of both pilots and aircrews.

Error Trapping and Crew Communication

The solution to this problem could use an error trapping technique to detect the error before making final decisions. It appears that when human error occurs at any level, aircrew members must be able to disrupt the error chain by recalling the error and correcting it or even preventing it from occurring. Expert aircrew members are more likely to be effective in trapping errors made by the captain by using information and communication theory, such as clearly identifying the nature of the error, providing a suggestion or solution for solving it while leaving the decision up to the pilot, and providing justification for the suggestion and well explain why their solution it’s a good idea. Additionally, another solution could involve a crew orientation reflected by the use of “we” rather than “I” in the suggestions (Ex: “We must turn 15 degrees toward the south”). This method will help the crew to make the right decision because the team will question the decision-maker at each level.


Finally, aircrew could use backup techniques to monitor each other for stress, fatigue, and workload and back up each other, reassign and schedule tasks as needed and eliminate members who are unable to cope with their stress levels. Indeed, aircrew should use compensatory techniques to manage fatigue and stress, such as double-checking information and flight status for any possible human error that could result in weak flight decisions.

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