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Decision Making

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Article Information
Category: Human Behaviour Human Behaviour
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary


In aviation, decision making is the cognitive process of selecting a course of action from multiple alternatives.


Decision-making generally has four components:

  • Defining the problem
  • Considering the options
  • Selecting and implementing an option
  • Reviewing the outcome.

Decision making is influenced by:

  • Situational Awareness - a combination of availability of information and the ability of the decision maker to interpret the information (skills and professional knowledge)
  • Experience - familiarity with similar, perhaps routine, situations.
  • Social - social pressure, national and institutional culture.
  • Situational limitations - Physiological & psychological pressures (stress, fatigue, hypoxia etc), time pressure

Related Articles

Further Reading

Flight Safety Foundation




  • Fighting Pilot Fatigue, video by Boeing’s Fatigue Risk Management team in partnership with Delta airlines to portray the effects of fatigue on pilots. It describes technologies in the flight deck that can monitor and prevent fatigue-related events.