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Do You Have a Pilot Personality?

Are there certain traits that are common among pilots? According to a 2004 report from NASA’s Langley Research Center, there are five main personality traits: known as the Big Five. The study looked at 93 pilots and evaluated their personality types based on a personality assessment known as the NEO-PI-R. It stands for NEO-Personality Inventory-Revised.

Let’s take a look at the results and see if you have some of these leading traits among pilots.

  1. Openness
    Individuals with a high level of openness are “curious, imaginative, and willing to entertain novel ideas and unconventional values,” according to psychologytoday.com. Openness wasn’t discussed in the pilot study because it was found to be insignificant, despite being one of the Big Five traits.
  2. Neuroticism
    The results of the study revealed that pilots scored very low on the neuroticism scale. Neuroticism includes six facets: anxiety, anger and hostility, depression, self-conscientiousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability. This means pilots are not anxious and are calm, even in stressful situations. Most pilots are confident in their ability to handle difficult situations – a critical trait for commercial pilots.
  3. Agreeableness
    Agreeableness includes personality traits like trust, straightforwardness, altruism, modesty and tendermindedness. A very agreeable person is trusting, helping, kind and forgiving and thinks the same of others. Low scorers in agreeableness are cynical and distrusting. Pilots in the test scored lower than average in agreeableness which attributes to pilots’ ability to make difficult decisions and prioritize safety over the feelings, needs and/or emotions of others.
  4. Extraversion
    For the most part, the results of the test showed pilots tend to be extroverts. Extroverts tend to enjoy socializing, seek excitement and exhibit more aggressive behaviors than others.
  5. Conscientiousness
    Conscientious individuals are organized, persistent, goal-oriented, reliable, hard-working and punctual. According to the study, commercial pilots scored very high in this category which is no surprise as they have high levels of self-discipline and are cautious and deliberate in their decision-making.

Everyone is different and there is no set personality that determines if someone can be a pilot or not, however if your personality traits match closely with these above you may be the perfect candidate to get your private pilot license or continue on to become a professional pilot. Contact us today to find out how to get started.

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