| 11.4°C Dublin

TCD aims to commercialise pilot wellbeing work


A study of 1,059 aviation professionals highlighted coping strategies

A study of 1,059 aviation professionals highlighted coping strategies

A study of 1,059 aviation professionals highlighted coping strategies

Trinity College Dublin is hoping to commercialise research that aims to improve the mental wellbeing of airline pilots.

The research was undertaken by its Centre for Innovative Human Systems in the School of Psychology in collaboration with aviation and other industry partners.

Now Enterprise Ireland is providing financial backing to help Trinity College figure out how to make money from the research.

It wants to develop an application to support pilots and other stakeholders to manage issues relating to work-related stress, wellbeing and fitness to fly.

It intends to hire an expert to help review the current market needs and to analyse feedback from trial partners. Marketing and business plans will subsequently be developed as well as a presentation for potential investors.

Trinity College said it wants to identify global opportunities for the application, as well as viable routes to market.

A recent study of 1,059 aviation professionals by Trinity College revealed key lifestyle behaviours and coping strategies which allowed many to remain resilient in the face of significant work-related stress.

The research was undertaken by Trinity's Joan Cahill, Captain Paul Cullen and Keith Gaynor.

"Proposed interventions should promote wellbeing and positive mental health while also addressing suffering and mental ill health," the paper published last year noted.

"Airline interventions might focus on enhancing existing safety management system approaches to better manage risks pertaining to work-related stress, advancing new tools to enable wellbeing briefing, risk assessment, and reporting, and training pilots in relation to mental health awareness, risk identifying behaviour and coping strategies," it said.

In 2015, pilot behaviour had devastating consequences on a flight operated by Germanwings, a low-cost subsidiary of Lufthansa that's currently being wound down.

One of its aircraft was en route to Dusseldorf from Barcelona when it crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board. It was deliberately crashed by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who had been suffering from mental health issues.

His doctor had urged him to attend a psychiatric hospital weeks before the disaster.

Irish Independent