March 13 | 8:00 am - 11:45 pm
Chris M. Front, PsyD | Federal Aviation Administration
Personality assessment is an essential element in pre-employment and fitness for duty evaluations for a variety of public safety-sensitive positions. Many psychologists specializing in personality assessment have developed consultation relationships with police and other public safety agencies. Fewer have become consultants for the FAA, which relies on psychologists skilled in personality assessment to conduct thorough evaluations of pilots and air traffic controllers. The FAA is actively recruiting psychologists who are skilled in personality assessment to join its team of consultants. This workshop is designed to prepare such psychologists primarily to perform pre-employment evaluations of FAA Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) applicants, with a secondary focus on the evaluation of pilots under FAA medical standards. The workshop will begin with a brief review of the legal and ethical issues involved in conducting pre-employment and fitness for duty evaluations. An orientation to the unique psychological demands inherent in the aviation environment and the standards necessary for aviation safety will follow. The main focus of the workshop will be on the special considerations required for pre-employment evaluations conducted with ATCS applicants and fitness for duty evaluation of pilots, including published and unpublished normative test score patterns for those populations, the safety relevance of subclinical conditions, issues specific to the assessment of military veterans, and the differences between DSM-5 diagnoses and FAA regulatory standards. A discussion of test data, psychosocial history, clinical interview, MSE, and collateral information to guide and support decisions will follow. Case examples will be provided to illustrate assessment practices and FAA standards.
Goals and Objectives:
1. Describe the unique psychological demands of working in the aviation environment.
2. Demonstrate the use of normative score patterns (e.g., MMPI-2 means and S.D.s for pilots and Air Traffic Control Specialist Applicants) when conducting test interpretation.
3. Discuss the differences between DSM-5 diagnoses and FAA regulatory standards.
4. Explain the safety relevance of subclinical conditions in the aviation work environment.
Participants with advanced skills in personality assessment will benefit most from this workshop.
Dr. Chris M. Front is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the Office of Aerospace Medicine at the headquarters of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He received Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Pacific University School of Professional Psychology and a Master’s degree in Interpersonal and Small Group Communication from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Assessment Psychology (ABAP), a Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association, and a Fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment. He is a member of the Aerospace Human Factors Association, the Association for Aviation Psychology, the Society of US Naval Flight Surgeons, and the International Association of Military Flight Surgeon Pilots.
As a Navy Clinical Psychologist, Chris served on active duty for seven years, including two years aboard the aircraft carrier USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74). He completed an OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM deployment during which he was the sole mental health provider for approximately 10,000 sailors, airmen, and marines in the deployed carrier battle group and regularly flew ship-to-ship to provide psychological services. He served for 13 years as a reserve officer in the Department of Psychiatry at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI), Naval Air Station Pensacola, where he was “winged” as an Honorary Navy Aerospace Experimental Psychologist. He retired from the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in 2018.
At the FAA, Chris has served since 2008 as the chief consultant to the Federal Air Surgeon on matters related to the psychological assessment of pilots and air traffic controllers. He was appointed to the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee on Pilot Health and has on ongoing leadership role on the Aerospace Medical Association’s Expert Working Group on Pilot Mental Health. He provides expert testimony for the FAA at NTSB hearings and coordinates FAA research projects in aerospace clinical psychology. He has developed and delivered numerous training seminars and workshops on the psychological assessment of pilots and air traffic controllers to both military and civilian clinicians and has published several book chapters on those and related topics.
Chris is an Instrument- and Multiengine-rated Commercial Pilot with complex, high performance, and tailwheel endorsements. He is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, the International Aerobatics Club, Warbirds of America, and the Navy Annapolis Flight Center. He especially enjoys flying aerobatics and “warbirds.”