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Personality and Prediction in Aviationby Jens-Henrik Johnsen
Compiled by Gunnar Breivik -1995
Jens-Henrik Johnsen provides details about skydivers and their personality traits. Learn what motivates jumpers of various skill levels. Are there differences between skydivers and the general population?
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By Eilif J. Ness
Jens-Henrik Johnsen, Norwegian skydiver, researcher and Secretary General of Norsk Aero Klubb, was dedicated to safety in air sports. It was a cruel twist of fate that he should die in a skydiving accident on 14th March 1992, only 38 years old, cutting short a promising scientific career.
For more than 10 years he studied psychological and physiological aspects of a large number of persons exposed to high stress situations, primarily skydivers, comparing them to fighter pilots and other categories. At the time of his death, he had almost completed his work on a doctoral thesis for a Dr. Scient. degree at Norges Idrettshogskole in Oslo, Norway.
The manuscript he left behind was still a draft. His wife, Ann Mari, their children and his many friends had followed his enthusiastic work on the project, and felt that his work was too valuable to be left uncompleted. The part he did not complete was the discussion chapter. His tutor, professor Gunnar Breivik, undertook to complete that chapter in order to make Jens Henrik's work available to the air sport community.
Jens-Henrik's studies centered on investigating the individual characteristics that influence personal and social modes of behavior, in the context of air sports. His belief was that personality variables play an important role in singling out right from the start those who will not do well. Some of those persons are discovered early in the career, during the first jumps. Some get through the training but on false premises and with the wrong abilities. They are persons with the "dangerous stuff" who in a critical situation will prove that they are not in control, who may die with one or two functioning but un-activated parachutes on their backs.
Personality and Prediction in Aviation is a popular, shortened version of Jens-Henrik's doctoral work. It provides the active air sportsman an insight into the personalities and mechanisms that make them, as a group, different from other people, and may also, hopefully, contribute to better understanding of their own traits of character. It may also prove to be good reading for all those, family and friends, who are close to them.
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