Human Factor Leading to Aviation Incidents Research Paper

Pages: 8 (2295 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Transportation

Human Factor in Aviation

Within the last few decades, global commercial aircraft has suffered series of causalities leading to loss of life and significant damages to aircrafts. Globally, there are aircraft fatal causalities of ratio one to one million flights. Between 1990 and 2006, total of 1441 air taxi and commuter crashed where 26% (373) were fatal accidents leading to 1,063 deaths. Human errors have been identified as the major factors causing the aircraft mishaps in the commercial aviation industry. The most common errors include failure to coordinate air traffic control systems, high workload, and boredom. Human factors have been the major contributing factors causing commercial aircraft causalities globally. Within civilian aviation, human factors cause damage to aircraft with ratio of one to 5000 flights. Moreover, interface between ground and aircraft handling equipment causes 61% of aircraft incidents. (Balk et al., 2010). Lost of life and investments due to the aircraft mishaps necessitates this research. The study attempts to investigate the human factors causing the aircraft incidents and correlation between anomalies and type of aircrafts.

Research Objectives

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Objective of this study is to evaluate the relationship between human factors and aircraft incidents. The study also provides analysis of factors leading to aircraft incidents. The study focuses on comparing human factors, aircraft types, anomalies types, phase of flight, and contributing factors. The study will also evaluate weather conditions, visibility, or light conditions to evaluate contributing factors to aircraft incidents.

Research Questions

The research questions are:

What are the relationship between human factors and aircraft incidents?

What is the correlation between incidents and aircraft types?

Are there differences between Heavy aircraft, Regional, and Narrow-body in terms of types of incidents?

Are there correlating factors between aircraft type and anomalies?

Research Paper on Human Factor Leading to Aviation Incidents Assignment

What is the type of incidents of Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft vs. other aircraft?

Methodology

The study collects data from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) database and creates type of each anomaly based on the NASA's 14 taxonomies. The study also collects data from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) database. The database contains a comprehensive data on human factors causing aircraft incidents. The FAA also contain database of different type of anomalies causing the aircraft incidents. The study collects data on different human factors that cause aircraft accidents such as:

Communication breakdown,

Confusion,

Distraction

Fatigue

Human-Machine Interface

Physiological and other situational awareness.

Time Pressure

Training and Qualification

Troubleshooting, and Workload.

Moreover, the study searches different secondary research to enhancing a greater understanding on the human factors causing the aircraft accidents. The search strategy is to use the appropriate keywords to search for the scholarly studies from the electronic database such as ScienceDirect, EBSCO, and government database. The keywords to search for the appropriate papers to complete the study include:

aircraft accidents

Communication breakdown human factors anomalies, and human error.

Literature Reviews

This section reviews scholarly, governmental and peer-reviewed reviewed literatures relevant to the study. The literatures are reviewed to discuses human related factors leading to the cause of accidents among commercial aircraft.

Human factors concept is a multidisciplinary field focusing on reducing human errors and optimizing human performances. Typically, human factors incorporate principle and methods of social and behavioral sciences, physiology and engineering to optimizing human performance. Human factors are variables that influence performance of team or crew, however, Balk and Bossenbroek, (2010) define human factors as human, organizational, environmental and job characteristics influencing work's behaviour in a manner than can affect health and safety. The definition shows that human factors can influence worker's behavior positively or negatively at work. Sarter, & Alexander (2000) argue that human error is the major contributing factor of all aviation incidents contributing between 70 and 80% of all aviation accidents.

Shappell, & Wiegmann (2000) explore the major factors causing the aircraft accidents. Typically, between 70 and 80% of aviation incidents are caused by human errors and some of the errors are skilled-based errors that include breakdown of visual scan, and poor technique in manoeuvring the aircraft. Violation is another human error where some aircrew violates the laid down rules and regulations. For example, aircraft incidents may occur due to violation of aviation rules and regulations. Some aircraft crew may fail to adhere to the brief or the radar altimeter appropriately. Some incidents may occur if the crew does not effectively prepare for the flight. Shappell, et al. (2000) argues that human errors have led to the increase in the aviation incidents in the last few decades despite the sophisticated technology and innovative systems integrated in designing and building the modern aircrafts.

Deitz and Thomas (1991) support this argument by pointing out that errors from personnel have been the major cause of aviation accidents. Typically, two thirds of aviation accidents are generally due to pilot errors, which include judgment errors, failure to concentrate, communication breakdown and possible physical and emotional breakdown of pilots. The significant contribution of pilots to the aircraft incidents makes pilots to be the major contributors to aircraft safety. Apart from identifying pilots as the major contributors of the aviation incidents, other crew on board contributes to major aircraft incidents. In 2003, pilot errors had been attributed to 131 accidents, however, errors from maintenance technicians, flight instructors, and airport personnel have been cited as the cause of 21% of the 131 accidents.

However, Tsang, and Vidulich, (2003) point out the alcohol is the leading contributor to accidents in commercial aviation. The authors argue the mode of alcohol consumption might have a great effect on coordination and judgment when reaching higher altitudes. Despite the argument of the authors about the use of alcohol, however, a decline in alcohol consumption in the last few decades is partly due to the improvement in aviation regulations.

Other general causes of air accidents include:

1. Piloting errors

2. Negligence of flight service

3. Faulty equipment

4. Cargo hold or cabin fire

5. Hijacking

6. Violations of FAA (Federal Aviation Regulations).

7. Structural or design problems

8. Sabotage

9. RF (Radio frequency) interference.

10. Error from air traffic controller.

11. Negligence from Third party carrier

12. Repair or maintenance negligence

13. Fueling error

14. Alcohol consumption by pilots

15. Bird strikes

16. Fuel starvation

17. Use of prescription drugs, and dangerous substances by pilots. (Tsang, and Vidulich, 2003).

Herrera & Vasigh, (2009) in their argument do not believe that human errors are the only contributing factors that cause aircraft accidents, the authors argue that aircraft's type and age of the aircraft have also been the factors leading to accidents within aviation industry. The authors point out the more an aircraft increases in age, the more the aircraft is susceptible to accident. Essentially, frequency of accidents occur with increase in the age of the aircraft and "there is a correlation between the number of accidents, their severity and aircraft manufacturers." (Herrera & Vasigh, 2009, p 121).

The table 1 reveals the number of accidents by manufacturers between 2000 and 2007. Data collected between 2000 and 2007 show that Boeing record largest number of accidents, followed by Airbus, McDonnell Douglas and others. The statistical data reveal that Airbus recorded the lowest number of accidents between 2000 and 2007.

Table 1: Aircraft Accidents Categorized by Manufacturer between 2000 and 2007

Aircraft Manufacturers

Number of Accidents

Boeing

Airbus

27

McDonnell Douglas

74

Other

Source: Herrera & Vasigh, (2009)

However, Boeing (2013) presents statistical data revealing the correlation between accident types and type of aircraft involved between 1959 and 2012. As being revealed in Table 2, the passenger aircraft has highest number of aircraft accidents between 1959 and 2012. Between 1959 and 2012, the United States and Canada record 557 commercial aircraft accidents.

Data Analysis

The study uses the quantitative technique for data analysis and provides correlations among variables. More importantly, the paper uses descriptive statistics to summary the data in a manageable form. Using the descriptive statistics, the study is able to summarize large volume of data and provide mean, mode, median and standard deviation of all the data. Moreover, the descriptive statistics assists in presenting data in a graphical form. The descriptive statistics table below reveals different human factors leading to commercial aircraft incidents which include:

Communication Breakdown

Confusion

Distraction

Fatigue

Human-Machine Interface

Physiological - Other

Situational Awareness

Time Pressure

Training/Qualification

Workload

Trouble shooting and Workload.

Descriptive Statistics Summary of Human factors Causing Commercial Aircraft Accidents

Communication Breakdown

Confusion

Distraction

Fatigue

Human-Machine Interface

Other/

Unknown

Physiological - Other

Situational Awareness

Time Pressure

Training/

Qualification

Trouble

shooting

Workload

Mean

80,04

70,56

52,08

12,130

47,52

0

10,60

112,91

38,73

0

45,34

38,69

Standard Error

19,58

17,13

12,71

3,305

10,52

0

3,02

26,65

8,43

0

9,40

8,84

Median

50

43

27

5

26

0

6

70

24

0

26

20

Mode

#N/A

3

#N/A

0

1

0

0

32

11

0

69

10

Standard Deviation

93,93

82,16

60,99

15,85

50,48

0

14,49

127,81

40,42

0

45,08

42,44

Sample Variance

8823,77

6751,52

3720,44

251,30

2548,44

0

210,06

16336,44

1634,56

0

2033,05

1801,22

Kurstosis

2,098

2,63

3,39

1,62

-0,04

0!

5,82

1,67

0,79

#DIV/0!

0,83

1,59

Skewness

1,56

1,63… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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