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"Study Breaks Down Crashes for Male, Female Pilots"

Sunday, May 20, 2001

Study Breaks Down Crashes for Male, Female Pilots

   BALTIMORE -- Air crashes involving female pilots are mostly due to
mishandling of the plane, while those with male pilots are more often due to
flawed decision-making and inattention, a study found.

    Flying planes with known mechanical problems, running out of fuel and
landing with the gear up were typically male problems, said the Johns
Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health study released last

    Women's crashes were more often due to incorrect use of the rudder, poor
response to a bounce or inability to recover from a stall, the study found.

    "Males trade accuracy for speed," said professor Susan Baker, the
study's co-author. "They would rather do something faster even if they don't
do it accurately.

    "Women tend to be more cautious and pay greater attention to details and

    The authors said women may have mishandled planes because they had less
flight time and experience on average than men.

    The study in this month's issue of Aviation, Space and Environmental
Medicine was prompted in part by the more than 30-fold increase in the
number of female airline pilots since 1959.

   Hopkins scholars looked at crashes of civilian, noncommercial planes from
1983 to 1997 involving 144 female and 287 male pilots over 40 years of age.

    Aircraft mishandling was the most common problem for both men and women,
but was blamed in 80 percent of female pilots' crashes and just 48 percent
of men's.


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