Aviation psychology requires an in-depth knowledge of both psychology and aviation. Aviation psychologists make a study of pilot and flight crew behavior. They also assist the FAA medical officer screen pilot candidates when there are mental health or neuropsychological issues, and determine if those issues impair pilot performance. The objective of Aviation Psychology is primarily concerned with maintaining flight safety. Most aviation psychologists are either pilots or aviation technicians, and sometimes both. It is difficult to understand the psychology of cockpit communications, workload, stress, and visual and auditory perception unless the psychologist is a pilot, because the work environment is quite foreign to the non-aviator.
When Aviation Psychology and Forensic Psychology are combined, those specialists assist attorneys and FAA administrative law judges with issues of licensure, liability claims and accident reconstruction.
The field of study is wide and varied. It not only includes psychological issues with flight crews, but air traffic control, non-flying employees, regulatory problems, and even model airplanes, especially where there are issues of liability.
One of the primary professional associations for aviation psychology is the Association for Aviation Psychology. Dr. Stanley has had membership in the Association for Aviation Psychology for many years.