Research Paper: Aviation Safety

Pages: 8 (2823 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Many factors must be considered in the design of technology for use by humans. This applies to any field, but is particularly important in the aviation industry. The human must be able to understand and interact with the technology in a way that produces the desired results. Technology must be designed so that it is comfortable and does not produce strain on the human user. It must be designed to make certain that no ill affects are experienced by the human user. It must also be designed in a way that does not increase fatigue on the user (McCloy, 2010c). All of these elements must be considered in the design of any technology that will be utilized by a human counterpart at some time in the future.

Technology must be designed to consider many factors involved in the human factor. For instance, it must be the right shape and height for the human. It must be easy for them to operate. It must take into consideration any environmental harm such as heat, cold, or excessive noise. The intensity of flashing LED lights, and display lighting panels are an example of these items that must also be considered (McCloy, 2010d). The information provided by technology must be within the ranges of human perception. For instance, a warning buzzer that sounds at a frequency that is outside of average human hearing range is would be useless because the human would not be able to recognize it and respond to it.

As one can see there are many considerations that must go into the development and design of new technology to enhance safety in the aviation industry. The technology is designed to enhance and serve the natural abilities of human beings. It does not exist on its own and does not operate on its own accord, even though at times it can appear that way. The human factor can never be taken out of the equation. When humans begin to rely on technology as a way to replace, rather than enhance human capabilities, problems can occur because the human was not there to prevent them from happening. New technology will take into account new research on the limitations of human beings to perform their jobs effectively. Technology must not create new physical stresses, but it should focus on relieving some of the more common stressed that humans encounter on a daily basis in their work environment.

The design phase is the most important phase in the development of technology to enhance human capabilities. However, as we have seen, this technology undergoes tremendous amounts of testing before it is put into place in the aviation industry. Technology can aid the human being in many ways in the performance of their job. However, it is the human that must make sure that is working and that all of the checks and balances have been followed. When humans get tired, and begin skipping steps, the ability of the technology to prevent accidents and mishaps is negated. In the end, new technology can only go so far and it is the human factor that still shoulders a majority of the responsibility in the prevention of accidents and safety issues in the aviation industry. Every human being from the pilot to the design engineer plays a role in aviation safety.

Conclusion

The interaction between human and machine is a necessary part of the aviation industry. It was recognized long ago the humans are limited in their sensory and reactive abilities. Technology can provide information to which the human would not normally have access through their own natural sensory systems. This information can provide valuable information that can help the human make better decisions while performing a complex task. Sometimes, technology malfunctions unexpectedly, even though proper maintenance has performed and humans did everything possible to avoid such a situation. However, these situations only account for a small percentage of aviation safety problems. Studies conducted by the FAA and other agencies have found that human error is responsible for a majority of aviation safety problems. We found through our research that there are a plethora of problems that can occur due to the human part of the equation.

Humans only have limited abilities in terms of visual and sensory perceptions. Their brains can only process information so fast and these abilities are decreased to lack of sleep, illness, medical conditions, stress, and a number of other factors that affect the ability of the human to react in a complex situation. New technology is continually being developed to help humans overcome their deficiencies. There are some tasks that humans can perform better than machines. These include tasks that require the integration of information from many different sources and a fast decision based on rapidly changing input. In this case technology can help provide valuable input, but it cannot replace the human factor. Other tasks are more suitable for technology. These tasks include repetitive tasks such as a continual sampling of environmental factors that can influence pilot decisions. Other tasks that are suitable for technology include tasks that involve the gathering of data from environments that would be harsh or harmful to humans.

The partnership of humans and technology is an excellent way to enhance human capabilities. However, the limitations of humans due to their biological nature was also be taken into account in this equation. Technology can play a role in helping to reduce factors that increase the potential for human error. There are also measures that can be taken to reduce factors such as fatigue, mental stress, and other critical factors in the human side of the safety equation. This research supports the thesis that human factors are one of the most difficult, and the most important issues in aviation needed to increase aviation safety in the future.

References

AAM-500. (2010). Human Factors Research Division (AAM-500) Simulation Facilities. Federal Aviation Administration. http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/

Gallaway, G. (2011). A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Fatigue Risk Management in Aircraft

Maintenance -- Near-Term and NextGen Time Frame (Maintenance Fatigue; Avers).

AAM-500-b-F-004 Rev.2. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/media/Task%2

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%20Management%20in%20Aircraft%20Maintenance.pdf

Higgins, C., & Higgins, J. (2008). The Role of Human Factors in Improving Aviation Safety.

Aero Magazine. Aero 2008. Retrieved from www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_08/human.pdf.

Manning, see. (2007). NAS (National Airspace System) human factors safety research laboratory. Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/nas/

McCloy, T / (2010a). Assessment of Flight Attendant Fatigue (Nesthus, Avers, Mead). AAM-

500-b-F-004 Rev. 2. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/media/Task%2 011%20Flight%20Deck.Assessment%20of%20Flight%20Attendant%20Fatigue.pdf

McCloy, T. (2010b). Cues (Visual and Instrument) Needed for Helicopter Approaches to a Hover (Beringer) . AAM-500-b-F-004 Rev. 2. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/media/Task%2016%20Flight%20Deck.Cues%20Needed%20for%20Helicopter%20Approaches%20to%20a%20Hover.pdf

McCloy, T. (2010c). Human Factors Guidance for Head-Up Display (HUD) Equipment Design

and Operation (Williams), AAM-500-b-F-004 Rev. 2. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/media/Task%2015%20Flight%20Deck.Human%20Factors%20Guidance%20for%20HUD%20Equipment%20Design%20and%20Operation.pdf

McCloy, T. (2010d). Effective Intensity of flashing LED lights (Milburn, Mead). AAM-500-b-F-

004 Rev. 2. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/media/Task%2014%20Flight%20Deck.Effective%20Intensity%20of%20Flashing%20LED%20Lights.pdf

McCloy, T. (2011a). Color Vision Requirements for Pilots (Milburn). AAM-500-b-F-004 Rev. 2.

Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/media/Task%208%20Flight%20Deck.%20Color%20Vision%20Requirements%20for%20Pilots.pdf

McCloy, T. (2011b). Synthetic Vision for Primary Flight and Multifunction Displays. AAM-

500-b-F-004 Rev. 2. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/data_research/research/med_humanfacs/humanfactors/media/Task%205%20Flight%20Deck.Synthetic%20Vision%20for%20Primary%20Flight%20and%20Malfunction%20Displays.pdf [END OF PREVIEW]

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