Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



David St. George is an FAA Master Flight Instructor, FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for all fixed-wing powered pilot certificates. He learned to fly at 16 and runs a FAA Part 141 Flight School in the Finger Lakes of Upstate, NY.


I have been a pilot, aviation instructor and FAA Pilot Examiner for over 40 years. Aviation requires a “pilot in command” mindset consistent with the tenets of positive psychology. This paper explains and advocates for this daily empowered, adaptive decision making process used by pilots in aviation as a necessary life skill to eliminate mind wandering and disengagement and optimize human performance consistent with the goals of positive psychology. Exploring the concepts of “pilot-in-command” (decisive control and self-efficacy) and “situational awareness” (alert mental functioning) I will offer techniques and suggestions for developing and deploying these critical skills in everyday life. I will examine the heuristic-based, “fast and frugal” (time and data limited) decision-making used every day in aviation and apply this to life for optimal performance and flourishing for individual lives and organizational effectiveness.


decision-making, self-efficacy, heuristics, pilot in command, situational awareness, fast and frugal, metacognition, executive function, mind wandering





Additional Files

MAPP_Poster.pptx (236 kB)
Academic Poster



Date Posted: 30 November 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.