Aviation & Human Factor Aviation the History Essay

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  • Subject: Transportation
  • Type: Essay
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Excerpt from Essay :

Aviation & Human Factor


"The history of the development and progress of Human Factors in aviation, highlighting areas of significant change"

Development in Aviation field is an essential element from defense prospective of any country. Advancement in assembly of an aircraft is always a result of some human error in handling. Error handling while pilot is operating an aircraft is an unrecoverable action in some cases. Human handling for safety of aircraft, preventive measures while operating an aircraft, regular maintenance for identifying errors in machinery and many other factors must be incorporated while training is given to pilots. Rate of damages and disasters also depends on human psychology. Quick action in tragedies and failure of aircraft is a primary part of training.

Table of Contents


Aircraft Accidents

Human factors in Organization

Human Error and Human Factor Models

Aviation Mishap Analysis

High Risk in Human Aviators Problems 12

Beginnings of maintenance human factors research 13

Review of Human Factors Issues 16

Safety 16

Cooperation / Competition 17

Communication and coordination 18

Judgmental Bias 20

Mixed Equipage 21

Regulations related to Human Factor in Aviation 22

Some Current Aircraft Accident Reduction Methods 23

Risk Management 23

Threat and Error Management (TEM) / Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) 24

Actor Network Theory 24

Prospective Analysis / Spiral Development 25

Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) 25

Conclusion 26

References 27

"The history of the development and progress of Human Factors in aviation, highlighting areas of significant change"


Aviation hazards are mostly caused either by human error or environmental conditions. One example of environmental conditions can be the cloudy or stormy weather. If the pilot is not experienced and properly trained to handle the aircraft in such weather there is possibility of an accident. Kapoor (2006) also concluded, "Maintenance error is a crucial factor in aircraft accidents" (p.4).

Aircraft accidents are the result of a chain of events that may begin with maintenance errors (Al-Amoudi, 1998). Al-Amoudi used data from the airline aircraft industry to test his hypothesis that changes within training, communications, safety, and human physiology can lead to reduced aviation maintenance technician errors. Al-Amoudi found that if the airline aircraft maintenance department addressed human factors, reduced maintenance errors will be prevented one in five times.

Human factor is behavior of a person and reaction to the environment while facing any situation. Global air transportation system officials rely on high-quality aircraft maintenance to provide safe, reliable aircraft (Dhillon & Liu, 2006). Errors among aircraft mechanics are of particular concern to the regulatory agencies and aviation organizations in nations participating in transportation system. Human factors (environmental, physiological and psychological) are widely recognized as the precursors to mechanic error, and ultimately, to maintenance related aircraft accidents (Baron, 2009; Hackworth, 2007; Hobbs & Williamson, 2003). Current essay is aimed at exploring the history of the development and progress of Human Factors in aviation. In particular the essay will focus on highlighting areas of significant change.

Below is a brief discussion of the aviation hazards, aircraft accidents, human error and human factor models followed by a detailed discussion on the development and progress of Human Factor in aviation

Aircraft Accidents

The aviation industry is one of the most highly regulated industries worldwide (Brong, 2002). The NTSB defined aircraft accidents as:

"An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage" (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, 2010).

Federal Aviation Regulations concerns "the design, manufacturing, and certification of aircraft, including their engines and other systems, the certification of airlines, and the certification of personnel who directly affect the safe operation of the aircraft" (Reynolds, 2005, p.59). Continual oversight of repair station operations as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities performing aircraft maintenance procedure is impressive to ensuring safety standards are enforced. Lu (2006) stated, "Accidents indicate a continuing demand to improve safety; but as the same time, most airline operate with a 'red-ink' balance sheet" (p. 114). Problems within the airline industry are highlighted by the occurrence of aircraft accidents and serve to focus attention on areas of concern (Murray, 2009).

Maintenance errors have been to blame for a significant percentage of aircraft accidents (Baron, 2008). Human error causes 55% of aviation catastrophes (Hughes, 2009). Errors can be contamination of equipment, corrosion of aircraft systems or components, failure of aircraft systems or components, or any other aircraft discrepancy resulting from a maintenance action. Root causal factors can contribute to airline aircraft maintenance errors. Errors have been attributed to six root causes, including the shortage of performance quality control and management oversight, not adhering to standard aircraft maintenance practices or procedures, erroneous FAA data, inadequate knowledge and training, hurried service, and ignorance of standard operational procedures (Lu, 2006). These factors can result in various error-related overcomes or events.

UN-airworthy dispatch of aircraft into service between the years 1996 through 2000 accounted for 40% of the maintenance error related events. Of these occurrences, 16% of the time the maintenance error did not result in a negative effect, and the error was simply found and corrected at a later maintenance check (Patankar & Taylor, 2003). Baron (2009) noted "deviations from approved procedures continue to be a leading cause of maintenance-related aircraft accidents" (p.2). Maintenance errors are a direct result of human error and "it has been estimated that human error is involved in 70% of aircraft accidents" (Hobbs & Williamson, 2003, p.187).

Human factors in Organization

Human factors in resource management are challenging and difficult to handle. Mangers prefer human factor specialists to help their employee. This step gives a positive impact on the growth of an organization. The performance of employees gets a big push and it will rise above. Error handling will decrease in this case. In terms of aviation the error or mistake is unavoidable as there is no recovery from the loss occurs due to this activity.

Mistakes are done my customers in every aspect of their business. In organization we suffer loss of money due the wrong investment. We also suffer from variety of things like damage to property. Property damage can be the end result of natural disaster, some external sources wants to disturb your business. Thieves steel your system. These factors can be handling and in future. Either we over come from these losses, recover the theft material or whatever the condition. But the loss during aviation is the life of the human.

Life of human is unrecoverable factor. We can only take preventive measures. But after the loss the thing can't recover any more.

Human Error and Human Factor Models

A great deal of the literature has been devoted to recording the chronological development of human error and human factors models and taxonomies. While many of the current models describe only a narrow view of one aspect of human error, Rasmussen (1983) suggests that rather than a single quantitative model, an overall qualitative model of human performance, supported by more detailed quantitative models that represent aspects of human functions and limiting properties, would be more effective in system design. Much like the definitions of systems engineering provided by Kossiakoff and Sweet and cognitive systems engineering provided by Amalberti and Sarter, Corker and Gore (2002) identified an important aspect of human error modeling as "the interaction among the physical and cognitive structures in completing complex jobs." They further suggest that understanding the processes that generate will lead to a better overall comprehension of the underlying concepts of human performance which, in turn, will allow for the development of better human performance predictive tools (Corker and Gore, 2002). Kahneman and Tversky provide three heuristics that humans employ in making decisions in an environment of uncertainty:

"Representativeness" -- employed when human is required to use judgment to decide if an event or object is linked to another class or process;

Availability of instances of scenarios -- employed when human is required to asses the frequency of a class or the plausibility of a development; and Adjustment from an anchor -- employed in a numeric prediction when relevant shows the values that are available (Kahneman and Tversky 1974, p. 1131)

A robust and comprehensive compilation of human performance model descriptions in the literature was provided by Anderson (2002). While their work was mostly confined to the air traffic management domain, they classified human performance models and human error omits in the following categories (Andersen, 2002, p.12-19).

Task-based taxonomies -- "classification systems that state what happened in terms of human error mode";

System-oriented taxonomies -- "similar to task-based taxonomies in that they also determine what failures occurred, but also consider maintenance errors or other such events that may have effect on the incident";

Communication system models -- "models and taxonomies that deal with the communication aspect of the error such as communication medium, method, expectations or sender/receiver, and…

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