‘A’ of attitude is NOT ‘B’ of behaviour in Competency Based Training


Competency based training under which Evidence Based Training is spreading its web has a conceptual flaw. ICAO Doc 9868 defines competency as a combination of skills, knowledge and attitudes required to perform a task to the prescribed standard.

While attitude has not been defined in either ICAO or IATA documents, both have the behavioural indicators as a measure of the performance standard. Behaviour and attitude are not the same and the incorrect indicator is being used to populate the database and give feed back.

The reason attitude has been studied intensely is that it was believed to be the key to understanding why people do what they do (and predict what they will do). It’s a cornerstone of social psychology.

The question that arises is ” Is behaviour an indicator of attitude, if not then what is the difference between the two?”.


Behaviour is defined as the way a person responds, either overtly or covertly, to a specific set of conditions, which is capable of being measured. 

Behavioral indicator is an overt action performed or statement made by any flight crew member that indicates how the crew is handling the event. 

What are Gagne’s Conditions of Learning?

Robert Gagne puts forward the notion of conditions of learning, as opposed to a theory about learning per se (Quinn, 2000). He defines learning as an alteration in an individual’s capabilities or disposition which continues over a period of time that cannot be put down to the natural process of maturation (Gagne, 1985).

In addition, he regards learning as the means through which individuals and groups of people acquire the skills that are necessary for them to be accepted members of society. Furthermore, Gagne believes that learning is a direct result of different human capabilities (behaviours) which are required as a result of stimulation from both the environment and the thinking processes which happen within individual learners.

The foundations of Gagne’s work lie in the concept of Behaviourism, based on the notion that through analysing observed behaviours, the necessary components to acquire a specific skill could be identified.

According to Gagne, Briggs and Wager (1992), it is important to group learning goals according to their intended outcomes. This involves deciding, during the course of planning, what is meant to be learnt and what the learner should be able to do at the end of a specific session.

Once these instructional goals have been placed into different categories of learning outcome, appropriate, systematic planning can take place, allowing practitioners to design activities to create specific conditions which will allow learners to access skills, knowledge and attitudes.

Attitude defined

In his classic book, The Conditions of Learning, Robert Gagne, defines attitude as “a mental state that predisposes a learner to choose to behave in a certain way.” Some think that attitudes are comprised of affect, behavior and beliefs.

Under the ABC model, attitude is composed of three parts: cognitive, affective, and conative(behaviour). It’s also referred to as affect, behavior, and cognition (hence ABC).

A person’s attitude can be positive, negative or neutral views, which shows one’s likes and dislikes for someone or something. So, the type of attitude we carry, speaks a lot about us, as we get into that mood and transmits a message to the people around us. There is no such thing like ideal attitude, for a particular situation as it is spontaneous and so we always have a choice to opt the right attitude for us.

Tripartite model of attitude

Definition of Behavior

The term ‘behavior’ can be described as the way of conducting oneself. It is the manner of acting or controlling oneself towards other people. It is the range of actions, responses, and mannerisms set by an individual, system or organization in association with themselves or their environment, in any circumstances.

In short, behavior is an individual or group reaction to inputs such as an action, environment or stimulus which can be internal or external, voluntary or involuntary, conscious or subconscious.

Key Differences Between Attitude and Behavior

The difference between attitude and behavior can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:

  1. Attitude is defined as a person’s mental tendency, which is responsible for the way he thinks or feels for someone or something. Behavior implies the actions, moves, conduct or functions or an individual or group towards other persons.
  2. A person’s attitude is mainly based on the experiences gained by him during the course of his life and observations. On the other hand, the behavior of a person relies on the situation.
  3. Attitude is a person’s inner thoughts and feelings. As opposed to, behavior expresses a person’s attitude.
  4. The way of thinking or feeling is reflected by a person’s attitude. On the contrary, a person’s conduct is reflected by his behavior.
  5.  Attitude is defined by the way we perceive things whereas behavior is ruled by social norms.
  6. Attitude is a human trait but behavior is an inborn attribute.
A composite model of the attitude-behavior relationship (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993).

Attitude measurement

One reason attitudes may be studied so rarely is the difficulty many have in clearly identifying how attitudes should be measured. The characteristics of attitude contribute to this perception of difficulty, as does the recent move away from quantitative research procedures. 

Since attitudes are defined as latent, and not observable in themselves, the trainer must identify some action that would seem to be representative of the attitude in question so that this behavior might be measured as an index of the attitude. This characteristic of attitude measurement is justifiably one of the most criticized of this area of educational evaluation. However, there are several generally recognized procedures used to determine quantitatively an individual’s, or group’s, attitude toward some object or person.

Categories of Attitude Measurement Techniques

There are four widely used and accepted categories, or approaches, for collecting attitude information. These approaches are:

  • Self-reports, where the members of a group report directly about their own attitudes. Self-reports include all procedures by which a person is asked to report on his or her own attitudes. This information can be provided orally through the use of interviews, surveys, or polls, or in written form through questionnaires, rating scales, logs, journals, or diaries. Self-reports represent the most direct type of attitude assessment and should be employed, unless the people who are being investigated are unable or unwilling to provide the necessary information. Questions like “How do you feel about XT’ where X is the attitude construct under investigation are often asked in self-reports.
  • Reports of others, where others report about the attitudes of a person or group. When the people whose attitudes are being investigated are unable or unlikely to provide accurate information, others can be questioned using interviews, questionnaires, logs, journals, reports, or observation techniques. Parents of children can be asked how their children feel about X, where X is the attitude construct under investigation.
  • Sociometric procedures, where members of a group report about their attitudes toward one another. Sociometrics are used when the researcher desires a picture of the patterns within a group. Members of groups can be asked questions like “Who in your group fits the description of XT’ where X is the attitude position being studied.
  • Records, which are systematic accounts of regular occurrences, such as attendance reports, sign-in sheets, library checkout records, and inventories. Records are very helpful when they contain information relevant to the attitude area in question. For example, when a researcher is trying to determine if a schoolwide program to develop a higher level of school pride is working, the school’s maintenance records might give an index of the program’s effectiveness. If school pride is improving, then vandalism should decline, and maintenance costs should be lower. The amount of trash picked up from the school’s floors might yield relevant information, too. Students who have ‘school pride are less likely to throw trash on the floor.

Within each of these categories, there are strategies for measuring attitude-related behaviors. Most commonly, attitude measurement is accomplished by one of the following techniques:

  • Questionares and rating scales
  • Ineriviews
  • Written reports
  • Observation

mindFly analysis

Attitude is the driving force behind an action or inaction. Behaviour is an outcome of the experience and can vary depending upon the circumstance. It takes a lot of time and effort to measure and document attitude therefore concepts like Competency based training with MPL and EBT taking the easy way out and they measure the behaviour.

Behaviour is not the true reflection or measurement of attitude but a shortcut methodology which has a high possibility of being inaccurate. The ICAO and IATA documents are not complete in themselves when they define competency in terms of attitude but fail to address attitude neither in definition nor in co-relation with behaviour.

Since the measured indicator is not accurate and consistent, the data fed into the system is inaccurate. This results in corruption of database and a false perception of achievement giving inaccurate feedback.

Two fires but no evacuation. When Saudi flight 163 turned to ambers and Singapore 368 survived

SV163 remains

On 19th Aug 1980 Saudi Airlines SV163 turned back soon after takeoff due onboard fire and after landing met with an unfortunate fate and all 301 onboard perished.

36 years later Singapore Airline B777 flight SQ368 to Milan, turned back soon after takeoff and landed back with an engine fire which soon engulfed the wing. Fortunately, all aboard disembarked the aircraft safely.

Both aircrafts turned back and landed safely.

Both crew had issues identifying the appropriate procedure applicable in the scenario they were facing.

Cabin crew of both crew had the authority and training to initiate evacuation in the absence of any command from the flight deck and the situation warranted so.

Both Crew decided not to evacuate but Singapore Airlines managed to save all lives but Saudi Airlines lost all lives.

SQ Boeing 777

In the Saudi Captain’s shoes

The origin of the onboard fire could not be determined by the investigation. The Captain formed his mental image of the aircraft and the intensity of the fire based on the inputs he gathered from various sources.

Flight profile
  • After takeoff the crew were alerted by audio and visual indications of smoke in Cargo bay.
  • The crew deliberated for 4 min 21 sec before confirming the warning.
  • The Flight Engineer who went into the cabin to investigate came back and informed the Captain that there was a fire in the cabin.Shortly after that he left again and came back to inform that it as just smoke at the aft.
  • A decision to turn back was taken and ATC informed of the fire and to inform the fire trucks. They were advised to follow the tail after landing.
  • The cabin crew informed the Captain that there was smoke in the cabin. The F/E checked the system and informed the Captain that there was no indication of smoke.
  • The cabin crew asked the Captain twice if they should evacuate. The first time the Captain told them yes but the second time, since the aircraft was close to landing, he told them to sit down.
  • Next, the F/E asked the Captain that the crew wants to know if they should evacuate? The Captain told the F/E to inform them not to evacuate.
  • The aircraft landed, rolled till the end of the runway and vacated on to a taxiway. After stopping the Captain asked the tower if they could see any fire? The tower after consulting with the fire trucks told the Captain that there was NO fire.
  • There was conversation between the tower and the fire trucks about the increase in fire and the tower communicated the same to the Captain. The engines of the aircraft continued to run . The Captain told the tower “Affirmative, we are trying to evacuate”.

Note: There was no common frequency between the Tower, Fire trucks and the Crew.

Reason for not evacuating

Could not be determined by the investigation.

In the SQ Captains shoes

  • While climbing to the cruising level, the crew notice and unusually low oil quantity in Eng 2.
  • The crew contacted the company and had a conference call. They were advised to turn back even though there wasn’t any abnormal indication.
  • There was vibration followed by a slight burning smell.
  • The ATC queried a number of times if they needed assistance but the crew denied any requirement of assistance.
  • On touchdown the Airport Rescue and Firefighting Services (ARRF) saw fire from the right engine, informed the tower who further informed the crew. There was no cockpit indication of fire.
  • The fire commander (FC) asked the tower to inform the crew to switch over to the emergency frequency.
  • The FC informed the crew that the fire was big and advised disembarkation from the port side. The FC was confident that an evacuation would not be required and the fire would be brought under control.
  • The Capt. asked the FC twice, if evacuation was required from the port side? The FC told the crew to standby and the were still fighting the fire.
  • The Capt. repeatedly asked the FC if an evacuation was required and the response was ” negative negative negative we will like to advise disembarkation disembarkation no evacuation no evacuation”
  • The fire had spread to the right wing. Evacuation was still not ordered.
  • The Capt. has instructed the crew to prepare for evacuation as soon as the aircraft stopped.
  • During the initial stages of the fire, several cabin crew members tried to contact the flight crew through the cabin interphone. However, only one call was answered by a flight crew member and he informed the cabin crew that they were aware of the situation and were handling it.

Reason for not evacuating

As the aircraft arrived to land, fuel was still leaking from the engine through various leakage areas.

In the initial communication, the FC advised the PIC “…we are still trying to contain the fire…the fire is pretty big…will like to advise…disembarkation on your port side”. As the commander of the aircraft, the PIC was aware that the decision to evacuate lay with him and that he could order an evacuation even if the FC advised a disembarkation.

Although the PIC was the only person actively communicating with theFC, the rest of the flight crew members were listening to the communication and the decision not to evacuate was reached collectively.

On the one hand, the operator’s flight crew training manual recommends that in a situation that a persistent smoke or a fire which cannot positively be confirmed to be completely extinguished, the safest course of action typically requires the earliest possible descent, landing and evacuation. The manual also recommends that pilots should utilise all available sources of information in making a decision regarding evacuation. The manual also highlights that key factors to be considered include the urgency of the situation (e.g. possibility of significant injury or loss of life if a significant delay occurs). The manual also recommends that, in case of doubt, an evacuation should be considered.

On the other hand, the operator’s flight crew training manual also recognises that fire may be spreading rapidly from spilled fuel or other flammable materials, which may endanger the people who have left the aircraft or are still on the escape slides.

mindFly analysis

Whereas both aircraft landed safely, both did not evacuate for different reasons. The Capt. of SV 163 did not get accurate and timely information from the crew members and ground based Tower and RFFS.

The SQ 368 Captain had the FC communicating directly and relied on the information passed on by him. The Capt. held back his order to evacuate even though he had all the authority.

Standard Operating procedures, background & development



For many years the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has identified deficiencies in standard operating procedures (SOPs) as contributing causal factors in aviation accidents.

The ICAO has recognized the importance of SOPs for safe flight operations. ICAO Annex 6 and PANS-OPS Document 8168, Vol I, establish that each Member State shall require that SOPs for each phase of flight be contained in the operations manual used by pilots.

One size doesn’t fit all, therefore the SOP’s must be critically analysed, developed and disseminated. The intent of the procedure must be clear since a particular SOP has the desired objective. If in a particular situation the desired outcome is not achievable, then using good CRM practices and background knowledge, the SOP can be bypassed considering all risks.

Background of Safety Enhancement Initiative (SEI)

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are universally recognized as being basic to safe aviation operations. Effective crew coordination and crew performance,  two central concepts of crew resource management (CRM), depend upon the crew’s having a shared mental model of each task. That mental model, in turn, is founded on SOPs.

A study of CFIT accidents found almost 50 per cent of the 107 CFIT interventions identified by an analysis team related to the flight crew’s failure to adhere to SOPs or the AOC holder’s failure to establish adequate SOPs.

Pinc and Punc

James Huntzinger, the former Vice President of Safety, Security & Compliance at Korean Air has been credited with coining the terms procedural intentional noncompliance (PINC) and procedural unintentional noncompliance (PUNC) (Agur, 2007). Quite simply, these acronyms are used to label behavior as pilots’ unintentional or intentional deviation from company-prescribed SOP. The Air Safety Foundation (2007) reported that a review of accidents involving professionally flown aircraft shows that four out of five events included PINC or PUNC by pilots.
Additionally, ‘‘PINCs and PUNCs are reduced dramatically when an effective safety culture exists.’’

Modern Airline Pilots9 Quandary: Standard Operating Procedures—
to Comply or Not to Comply (Carrie N. Giles Minnesota State University, Mankato

The Mission of SOPs

To achieve consistently safe flight operations through adherence to SOPs that are clear, comprehensive, and readily available to flight crew members.

SOP, Emergency procedures, Abnormal procedures & Limitations

Which ones of these are recommendations and which ones mandatory?

Limitations are must comply
Emergency procedures
Abnormal procedures
Normal procedures

Key Features of Effective SOPs

  1. Many experts agree that implementation of any procedure as an SOP is most effective if:
  • The procedure is appropriate for the situation.
  • The procedure is practical to use.
  • Crew members understand the reasons for the procedure.
  • Pilot Flying (PF), Pilot Monitoring (PM) are clearly delineated.
  • Effective combined means of information dissemination, be it through descriptive circulars (electronic or paper), courses (virtual or classroom) & line or scenario-based simulator training, is conducted.
  • Collective endorsement and continuous review of a new procedure by all stakeholders are fundamental to successful implementation and effective operations.
  • The procedure should be equipped with redundancy and thereby not be limiting. This will permit crews a degree of lateral flexibility when managing non- normal scenarios

2. The above seven elements are further reinforced by effective Crew Resource Management (CRM) skills, such as task sharing and communication, as well as a disciplined approach towards checklist philosophy. A process of continual open feedback, review and modification of all procedures will serve to enhance the organization’s overall level of safety.

The Importance of Understanding the Reasons for an SOP

  • Effective Feedback. When flight crew members understand the underlying reasons for an SOP they are better prepared and more eager to offer effective feedback for improvements. The operator/airline, in turn, benefits from more competent feedback in revising existing SOPs and in developing new SOPs. Those benefits include safety, efficiency, and employee morale.
  • Troubleshooting. When flight crew members understand the underlying reasons for and SOP, they are generally better prepared to handle a related in-flight problem that may not be explicitly or completely addressed in their operating manuals.

Collaborating for Effective SOPs

  • In general, effective SOPs are the product of healthy collaboration among managers and flight operations personnel, including flight crews. A safety culture promoting continuous feedback from flight crew and others, and continuous revision by the collaborators distinguish effective SOPs at air operators of all sizes and ages.
  • New operators, operators adding a new aircraft fleet, or operators retiring one aircraft fleet for another must be especially diligent in developing SOPs. Stakeholders with applicable experience may be more difficult to bring together in those instances.
  • For a startup AOC holder, the developers should pay close attention to the approved Airplane Flight Manual (AFM), to AFM revisions and operations bulletins issued by the manufacturer. Desirable partners in the collaboration would certainly include representatives of the airplane manufacturer, pilots having previous experience with the airplane or with the kind of operations planned by the operator,  and representatives from the CAA. The development of SOPs should maintain a close parallel with the ICAO Safety Management System (SMS) principles in that the process is subjected to constant open feedback, review and modification from all stakeholders. Together, managers and flight crews are able to review the effectiveness of SOPs and to reach valid conclusions for revisions.
  • An existing AOC holder introducing a new airplane fleet should also collaborate using the best resources available, including the AFM and operations bulletins. Experience has shown that representatives of the airplane manufacturer, managers, check pilot, instructors, and line pilots work well together as a team to develop effective SOPs. A trial period might be implemented, followed by feedback and revision, in which SOPs are improved. By being part of an iterative process for changes in SOPs, the end user, the flight crew member, is generally inclined to accept the validity of changes and to implement them readily.
  • Long-established operators should be careful not to assume too readily that they can operate an airplane recently added to the fleet in the same, standard way as older types or models. Managers, check pilot, and instructors should collaborate using the best resources available, including the AFM and operations bulletins to ensure that SOPs developed or adapted for a new airplane are in fact effective for that aircraft, and are not inappropriate carryovers.
Blog Stats
  • 54,262 hits
My collection Mightier than the sword. Knowledge and Pen Kisser landing Blink Sun down on the pine Dhauldhar in the backdrop
Top Posts & Pages
Yours truly, Amit Singh
Follow mindFly on WordPress.com
Google Adsense
Creative Commons
%d bloggers like this: