PERSONALITY DIMENSIONS IN AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SPECIALISTS AS PREDICTORS OF FUTURE STATUS
 
Schroeder, D. J., Broach, D., Carolyn, D., Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, USA
 
The 16PF has been administered to individuals entering the air traffic control profession in the USA on a routine basis for more than three decades. We compared the general profile of more recent entrants (1987-88) with that of controllers from the early 1970s and looked at the extent to which personality factors predicted performance in training through progression to a certified professional controller (CPC). Information will be presented regarding the status of the ATCS trainees 17 years following entry into the Academy screen program. Complete information (16PF and Academy screen) was obtained from 2336 entrants (average age of entrants was 25.3 years, 2,012 males and 317 females). Of this group, 1,270 (54%) successfully completed the screen and entered into field training. Of those entering field training, 78.8% achieved CPC status. Despite demographic differences in the two samples, the overall 16PF profile of the 1978/8 applicants was comparable with that of entrants in the 1960/70s. While different from the 16PF adult group norms on many of the dimensions, there was considerable diversity among the controllers. Generally, controllers are bright individuals, with low levels of tension, bold, self- disciplined, and emotionally stable. Female applicants were markedly bolder than the normative group. There was little evidence that any of the personality dimensions predicted success in the academy screen program. The best predictor from the 16PF was the measure of general intelligence. This is true even though entrants represent the top performers on a selection test that assessed aspects of abstract reasoning and analytic ability. Additional information will be provided regarding the influence of attrition on entry level 16PF profiles and the profiles of individuals who enter supervisor and manager positions.