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Aviation Psychology – an emerging field

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Psychology is a dynamic field of science. It is one of the fields which can be applied in most areas since it is the study of human behaviour and the psyche. One such new branch to this vast field is aviation psychology. With the pandemic on the rise, people are afraid to travel by flight, even if necessary. Of course, the cabin crew is in the same boat, being humans like us all. As they have to fly and do their job along with these fears, they are constantly in high-pressure situations. Given that an aeroplane is a mechanical machine, the chances of its failure can never be zero. The pilot and crew always have to be prepared for any critical situation. This exacts a toll on their minds. Let us try to learn how aviation psychologists help them to cope up with such issues.

How Aviation Psychologists Help

Working as a pilot or cabin crew comes with its perks. You get respect everywhere; you get to see the world, experience new cultures, and meet new people. But, this job is not without its issues. Flying an aeroplane is a job of intense concentration and focus. Given that the weather is ever-changing, making accurate predictions are not always possible. The pilots have to be alert and skilled enough to tackle any situation. As for the cabin crew, they are responsible for keeping everyone safe and relaxed if anything goes down. Thus, the pilots and cabin are continuously under pressure while on duty, given that the lives of the passengers are pretty much in their hands. Hence, the need arises for a specialist who can empathize and help them.

An aviation psychologist is an expert in an emerging field where psychologists specifically study behaviour, feeling, thinking, and working in the aviation industry. Thus, they met with airborne personnel regularly to provide counselling and address any issues related to anxiety, job stress, or problems that the person may be dealing with. Here is how they help in making the aviation industry safe and serene:

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Counselling– No one can ever predict accurately predict what might happen when airborne. Firstly, airborne psychologists prepare the pilot and the crew to handle any situation. They may also help the pilot, the staff, and even the passengers if they face any high threat situation or a traumatic event. In the case of terror threats, equipment failure, death of a cabin crew member, an air crash, or other such calamities- an aviation psychologist plays a prominent role in counselling and helping the crew process the trauma.

Investigative Work– They may assist authorities to investigate any threat on board. To reduce such happenings in the future, the insights and input from trained psychologists are helpful.

Training Program– They can help to make dedicated training programs to prepare the pilot and the staff to handle and diffuse high-tension situations with ease.

Work with engineers– They can work with engineers to design the cabin and cockpit, flight decks and assess the safety measures of the plane.

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Administrative work- As they are experts in the avionics field, their suggestions can be helpful in new policies. Complying with laws and safety is the first step to diffuse any undesirable situation. Since these psychologists work closely with people who might have been in a traumatic event, they can use this for suggesting more safety and law-compliant policies which make air travel safe and comfortable with minimal risk.

Need of Aviation Psychologists

Even after years of training and practice, pilots are still humans. No matter how much they have trained to take a flight and fly the aircraft, they can lose their control in any critical situation. The same goes for the crew that works with them. They need to keep their wits about them to handle any situation. Be it a terrorist attack, machine failure, or adverse weather condition -the safety of the passengers comes first. Aviation psychology, even if new, is highly capable of helping the flight crew achieve a calm and relaxed state when faced with a calamity. It also helps the passengers to recover from any trauma or issues they might have faced during flight. These things, working together, keep air travel safe and enjoyable.

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Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh
Currently head of Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh is a mental wellness expert with expertise in relationship, lifestyle & stress management. The founder and director of The Mind and Wellness Studio Dr. Rachna Khanna has worked with leading hospitals like Fortis Escorts, Dharamshila Cancer Hospital. Her specialties include stress management, lifestyle management for heart diseases, supportive care for chronically ill patients, work-life balance, parent-child bonding, cancer support care, ante/postnatal care, relationship counselling, pre-marital & marital counselling, adolescent counselling, psychiatric & psychological illnesses like depression, anxiety, insomnia.


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