Welcome to Petitt Doctoral Aviation Research

The Intent of this Research


Whenever an accident occurs the industry blames the pilot. However, if we continue to blame the pilot then no one needs to be accountable for necessary improvements. In 2016, the Office of the Inspector General identified that pilots’ lacked flight skills and exhibited problems monitoring their instruments. Incidents and safety reports have further identified confusion, lack of understanding, and mode awareness issues. 

However, I hypothesize that pilots are not to blame, but a larger system with underlying variables may be accountable.   


The purpose of this research is to identify the relationships between safety culture, pilot training, aircraft understanding, aviation passion, and the impact of automation usage, in order to identify the root cause of performance issues, beyond pilot error.   


You will remain anonymous—no names will be collected on the survey, ensuring your identity will never be linked to the results or your organization. You may also quit at any time without issue. 

There will be no risk involved in your participation, and your reward will be the positive impact that this research could have on your career and the safety of our aviation industry.  

Participation will take approximately 

10-15 minutes. 


You must be a commercial pilot (airline, charter, corporate), with a required crew complement of at least two pilots. You may also be retired or between jobs if you were actively employed within the previous calendar year.  If you meet the qualifications and want to participate, please select the link below that will take you to the consent form, followed by the survey.