From the Wright brothers until today, aircraft operation has grown exponentially. Consequently, the aviation market has made rapid progress so far with numerous advancements, such as the first modern civil passenger aircraft, the B247 that operated in 1933, the advent of the jet-engine passenger aircraft Comet which was influenced by world war 2, the B747 which led to the popularization of air travel, and the B767 which is the 4th generation of jet aircraft .
Amidst this remarkable progress in aviation operation, pilots are some of the highest-earning jobs and are highly sought after by many. However, it is also a stressful job due to the responsibility for the lives of many people, the need to react quickly to emergencies and the difficulty in making judgments about aircraft, etc., compared with other occupations .
Flight trainees who want to become pilots are also exposed to various stresses in the above circumstances while aviation training institutions are creating detailed and systematic training programs to produce excellent pilots. Additionally, several Korean universities train flight trainees, and these universities combine various liberal arts and major classes, including flight practice. Having to balance academic studies and flight instruction at the same time is not uncommon for flight trainees, so they are often physically and mentally stressed .
Stress is a variety of reactions in the body that occur when humans are stimulated by environmental factors. It also refers to a condition where one’s mind is hurt or intimidated. Stress destroys our mental and physical functions and weakens our bodies’ ability to adapt to the surrounding environment. Stress comes from an imbalance or mismatch between what is required by the surrounding environment and what one can do or it occurs when importance is emphasized . The result of too much stress is not only losing interest in what one is doing, but also contributing to negative thoughts, resulting in exhaustion and slump, affecting confidence and overall performance .
Stress management is important to anyone. In particular, in the case of flight trainees the exposure to constant high stress increases the possibility of problems in improving the quality and skills of education, and hence the surrounding relationship with professors, instructors, and friends may deteriorate. As a result, this can have a negative effect when they become pilots. Furthermore, these adverse effects are maintained even as flight trainees later work for airlines, which can reduce the overall quality of pilots and may increase the probability of the risk of air accidents . In addition to managing the stress of flight trainees, stress management is also necessary to protect individual students from stress as a result of increased frequency of experiencing stress  or giving up mid-flight education in order to achieve their dreams.
Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify the stressors (flight education, future problems, family or financial problems, professor or instructor problems), investigate and analyze how these factors affect flight immersion and flight abandonment.
Flight trainees are not the subject of most studies on stress, but many previous studies have already been conducted on various stressors related to aviation. Choi, E. (2011) studied that stress causes airline pilots to suffer from loss of vitality, low morale, job dissatisfaction, and distortion of communication, which eventually affects their intention to change jobs , and Cho, S. (2006) studied that the stress of airline flight attendants can lead to problems in their job attitude . Therefore, this study was conducted because it was necessary to consider the stress of flight trainees preparing for it as well as incumbent pilots and flight attendants.
The statistical processing of the collected data was analyzed using the SPSS v. 21.0 statistical package program through data coding and data cleaning processes. First, frequency analysis was conducted to identify the general characteristics of research respondents. Second, exploratory factor analysis was conducted to verify the feasibility of the measurement tool, and the Cronbach’s α coefficient was calculated to verify reliability. Third, descriptive statistical analysis was conducted to find out the stress, immersion in flight, and abandonment of flight, and independent samples t-test and one-way ANOVA were conducted to find out whether there was a difference according to the general characteristics of the survey subjects, and Duncan test was conducted as a post-test method. Lastly, correlation analysis was conducted to determine the correlation between each variable, and linear regression analysis was used to verify the hypothesis.
Table 1 shows the results of frequency analysis to find out the general characteristics of the survey respondents.
The variables were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis. Principal component analysis was used as the factor analysis method, and factor analysis was performed based on Varimax’s rotation, assuming independence between factors, and at least 1 eigenvalue. The factor loading value, which represents the correlation between variables, is considered significant when it is 0.40 or higher, and when it exceeds 0.50, it is regarded as a very important variable .
Moreover, reliability can also be defined as the consistency of measured variables and variance between measurements for a unified concept over time. This study verified the reliability by calculating the Cronbach’s α coefficient used when using a scale composed of multiple items for one concept, and generally interpreted that there is no problem in reliability if the alpha coefficient is 0.60 or higher .
The results of the feasibility and reliability tests for stress are presented in Table 2. The loading value of a total of four factors was 0.40 or more, so it was judged that the validity was verified, and the reliability was 0.60 or more, indicating that there was no problem.
The results of verification of the feasibility and reliability for flight immersion are shown in Table 3. The loading value of a total of one factor was 0.40 or more, so it was judged that the validity was verified, and the reliability was 0.60 or more, indicating that there was no problem.
The results of verification and reliability for flight abandonment are shown in Table 4. The loading value of a total of one factor was 0.40 or more. The validity of the study was verified, and the reliability was 0.60 or higher, which indicated that there was no problem.
The results of the analysis on the stress of flight trainees are as shown in Table 5. Overall, it indicated that “future problem stress” was the highest as M=3.77, and average stress was 3.27 points. It is assumed that the situation that most students are facing in the present is important, but due to the nature of flight education, the financial part required to prepare is larger than that of other jobs, so the strain on the possibility of employment difficulties was greatly affected.
There was a statistically significant difference between overall stress and sub-factor stress after analyzing whether there was a difference according to the general characteristics of the survey subjects. And women tended to be more stressed than men in the same situation judging from the sub-factor stress of Future problems, Family or financial problems, and Professor or instructor problems.
In addition, there was a statistically significant difference between overall stress and stress by sub-factor depending on the flight education step (p<.05), in the case of the pilot training certification course, the overall stress and the stress of the professor or instructor problem. There was a significant difference between pilot training certifications and commercial pilot course, showing that flight education and future problem stress were relatively high.
Table 6 shows the results of analyzing the flight immersion of flight trainees and the abandonment of flight. As a result of the analysis, the overall flight immersion was 3.78 points on average, and the average flight abandonment was 2.93 points on average.
As a result of analyzing whether there is a difference according to the general characteristics of the survey respondents, there was no statistically significant difference depending on gender and flight education step (p>.05).
The results of analyzing the correlation between each variable are shown in Table 7. According to the result of the analysis, stress was found to have a statistically significant negative (-) correlation with flight immersion by sub-factors of stress of flight education (r = -.391, p<.001), future problem (r =-.330, p<.001), family or financial problems (r =-.424, p<.001), professor or instructor problems (r =-.430, p<.001). Stress was found to have a statistically significant positive (+) correlation with flight abandonment by sub-factor of the stress of flight education (r =.431, p<.001), future problems (r =.479, p<.001), family or financial problems (r =.430, p<.001), professor or instructor problems (r =.591, p<.001). Besides, Flight immersion was found to have a statistically significant negative (-) correlation with flight abandonment (r = -.444, p<.001).
Table 8 shows the results of multiple regression analysis to verify the effect of stress on flight immersion of flight trainees. As a result of the analysis, the explanatory power of the regression model was 31.2%, and the regression equation was analyzed to be statistically significant (F =25.107, p<.001). Family or financial problems (β=-.246, p<.001), professor or instructor problems (β=-.241, p<.001), and flight education (β=-.224, p<.01) by sub-factors of stress were found to have a statistically significant negative (-) effect on flight immersion. Therefore, it can be seen that the higher the family or financial problems, professor or instructor problems, and flight education stress by sub-factors of stress are, the lower the flight immersion is.
Table 9 shows the results of multiple regression analysis to verify the effect of stress on flight abandonment of flight trainees. As a result of the analysis, the explanatory power of the regression model was 47.4%, and the regression equation was analyzed to be statistically significant (F =49.815, p<.001). Professor or instructor problems (==).410, p<.001), future problems (==.211, p<.01), flight education (==.154, p<.01), and family or financial problems (β=. 151, p<.01) by sub-factors of stress had a statistically significant positive (+) effect on flight abandonment.
Therefore, it can be seen that the higher the stress of professor or instructor problems, future problem, flight education, family or financial problems by sub-factors of stress is, the higher the flight abandonment is.
Table 10 shows the results of a simple regression analysis to verify the effect of flight immersion on flight abandonment. As a result of the analysis, the explanatory power of the regression model was 19.7%, and the regression equation was analyzed to be statistically significant (F =55.115, p<.001). Flight immersion as an independent variable (β=-.444, p<.001) was found to have a statistically significant negative (-) effect on flight abandonment. Therefore, it can be seen that the higher the flight immersion is, the lower the flight abandonment is.
|Division||Non-standardization factor||Standardization factor||t||p|
|R2=.197, Adj. R2=.194, F=55.115***, p=.000, Durbin-Watson=1.749|
This study aimed to examine the various stresses that flight trainees face as they prepare for their future careers. The survey results show that most survey respondents were greatly stressed, and there was a lot of stress, when it came to the future. This is because it seems to be expected to face difficulties in getting a job in the future due to the characteristic of the job of the aircraft pilot. In addition, unlike other occupations, it is judged that it comes as a big problem because of the large number of efforts such as time and economic burden spent preparing.
As verified in the hypothesis, this stress not only lowers the immersion of flight trainees but also affects the flight abandonment. Therefore, to manage stress properly, various dimensions must be considered as well as, research aimed at identifying and adapting to various situations, not restricted to a specific situation, and to ensuring safe operations and flight education.
Identifying and preparing systematic management measures for civilian and military pilots as well as flight trainees are expected to be a potential future research project that will enhance aviation safety in Korea.