Aviation student Mihar Raouf spends summer researching pilot behaviour
11/6/2019 10:36:48 AMFourth-year aviation student Mihar Raouf spent her summer working on research through an independent research grant provided by CAE Inc. in Montreal. Her focus was on pilot behaviour.
“Aviation has lots of interesting fields that people don’t know about,” she says. “
Raouf says studying pilot behavior is complicated with lots of factors to consider. Pilots need to understand how the plane functions, deal with passengers and weather, and react to many changing variables. The main question she looked at is: how do behavioural traps caused by bad decision making lead to negative consequences?
“Studying a pilot’s mind, behaviour, and aptitude in flight can vary with each flight, their experience, and their age,” she says. “I want to see if there is any correlation between behavioural traps and age or experience of the pilot.”
She surveyed pilots and observed reactions, then analyzed the results to see if they can help solve the behavioural traps in the flight training units. She looked at loss of situational awareness, neglect or poor flight planning, and use of memory or experience when it comes to using a checklist in flight.
Raouf's findings will be sent to CAE Inc. and the safety board of the flight training unit.
“We want to be able to suggest pathways or approaches for different ages or experience levels, minimizing the traps and improving pilot performance in flight,” says Raouf.
She says this area of research will also help her be more aware as a pilot.
“This research will help me understand when I’m flying what traps I may fall into and how to recover quickly,” she says.
Raouf loves being up in the air and finds it peaceful. Last summer she passed her flight test for her commercial pilot’s license. She says being able to work on undergraduate research during her degree has been an amazing opportunity.
“Being able to do research and be the principal investigator on a research project during my undergrad is great experience,” she says. “It’s just another area of work I can get into after I graduate.”
Also minoring in environmental science and biochemistry, Raouf has lots of areas of interest. Last summer she also worked as a summer research assistant with Dr. Jesse Popp, working with traditional ecological knowledge and developing Indigenous Gardens on campus.
After graduation Raouf plans to do her flight instructor course at the Moncton Flight College and eventually plans to pursue graduate studies in aviation or another science field.
“Having the opportunity to also double minor means I am learning in three different fields at the same time,” she says. “Having a degree like this opens up lots of doors for me.”