Multiple Chapters: UAV: Human Interaction &amp Safe Operation

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¶ … Human Factors Affecting Safe

Operation Of The UAV

Study of Selected Human Factors affecting safe operation of the UAV

In the history of mankind, pilots have asked to carry out dangerous tasks such as carrying dangerous mission at enemy airspace, or National Guard missions during natural disasters or earthquakes. Some of these missions have resulted in mortality of hundred or thousands of pilots, which lead to huge financial and emotional loss of the family of the pilots, and military. To enhance human safety during aircraft operations, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are being developed to address the problems of loss of life during the manned aircraft operations. (Dixon, S. & Wickens 2003). Despite the significant steps implemented to enhance safety operations of UAV operators in the USAF, there are still significant aircraft mishaps since the development of UAV. Typically, UAVs have suffered a large number of mishaps, and one of the problems identified is that there are deficiencies of human system interface leading to the various UAVs' accidents. (Williams, 2006).

The findings of the thesis reveal the critical human related attributes to enhance safe operation of UAV. The findings reveal that human factors are among the critical attributes that affect the safety of UAV operations.

Sub-Problem Hypothesis One

Based on the findings of thesis, the study supports the first null hypothesis that states it is not important for a UAV pilot to be under 40 years, graduating from Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT), and having a minimum of 100 flying hours before UAV pilots could demonstrate safety operations. The first three questions are drawn to test the validity of the first hypothesis. The results of the question 1 reveals that number of pilots, who agree that it is not important for a pilot to graduate from Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) to demonstrate effective aviation safety, are higher than the respondents who agree it is important. From the survey results, the mean percentage of "not important" is 22.86% while mean percentage of "very important or important" is 17.15%.

The second question reveals surprising results because 66.72% of the respondents have not agreed that it is important for a pilot to be under 40 to demonstrate effective aviation safety. Thus, findings of questions 1 and 2 support the first null hypothesis and reject the first research hypothesis. However, the results of question 3 reveal that the mean percentages of the respondents agreeing that it is important for a pilot to have a minimum of 100 flying hours is higher than those agree that it is not important. The study is able to support the first null hypothesis based on the cumulative mean of the questions 1, 2, and 3. The total of mean percentages of the respondents agreeing "it is not important" are higher that the total of mean percentages of respondents agreeing "it is important." The mean percentages of those agreeing "it is not important" are 48.91% while the mean percentages of those agreeing "it is important" are 36.19%. (See Table 5 in chapter 4). Based on the results, the thesis is able to support the first null hypothesis and reject the first research hypothesis.

Other criteria assist the thesis to support the first null hypothesis.

First, based on the result of question 7, approximately 80% of the respondents have attended the aviation courses, and this indicates that larger majority of the respondents understand the importance of UPT courses for the enhancement of aviation safety. Various training that respondents have undergone has made them to respond that it is not important for a pilot to graduate from UPT to enhance safety operation of UAV. While this may be important in the operation of manned aircraft, it is not important for UAV operation.

Moreover, more than 60% of the respondents are below 40 based on the results of question 8. The findings show that the respondents are not bias when they agree that it is not important for a pilot to be under 40 years before demonstrating effective safety in UAV operations. Additionally, the results of question 4 justify the findings of the first hypothesis because more than 65% of the respondents disagree that the critical attributes of being a UAV pilot are to "graduate from Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT), being under 40 years old, and having a minimum of 100 flying-hour experience?"

Although, more than 70% of the respondents have logged less than 1500 hours of flying hours based on the results of question 9, the overall findings support the first null hypothesis. To support this finding, Johnson & Shea (2007) believe that it is not essential for a pilot to graduate from UPT or be under 40 years or having minimum of 100 flying hours to demonstrate safety in UAV operation. The authors argue that UAV safety could be realized with the implementation of appropriate crew coordination, and regulatory framework to enhance every level of UAV operations. The regulatory framework is very critical to eliminate the operator error or maintenance failure that could jeopardize UAV safety. Since 2001, accidents of UAVs are significantly higher than the manned aircrafts. Some of the causes of these accidents are mechanical failures. Although, the issues of mechanical failures have begun to decrease with improvement, however, the safety operation could be realized with appropriate crew coordination, and regulatory framework. (Hou, Kobierski, & Brown 2007).

Sub-Problem Hypothesis Two

The findings of questions 4 and 5 are used to support the second hypothesis. The results of the question 4 show that 60% of the respondents agree that it is not important to have 3-year experience as a pilot to demonstrate effective aviation safety. The results of question 5 is surprising with large majority of respondents agree that it is very important for a pilot to possess computer skills to demonstrate aviation safety. Based on the findings, the thesis has been able to support the second research hypothesis that states "UAV pilots believe that lack of involvement in a "human related" aviation safety incident and possession of computer skills contributes to being a safe UAV operator in the USAF." Other criteria from the findings also assist the thesis to support the second research hypothesis.

First, the results of question 12 reveal that approximately 80% of the respondents possess computer skills. This finding shows that the respondents understand the importance of computer for the operation of UAV. Since the UAVs are generally being controlled by the automated computer system, it is essential to possess computer skills to enhance UAVs safety.

Moreover, over 70% of the respondents have had up to 5 years experience as pilots. Their experiences reveal that the respondents understand the overall safety operation of the manned and unmanned aircrafts. Their responses justify the findings

In addition, based on the results of question 15 where more than 70% of the respondents agree with the statement, the thesis has been able to support the second research hypothesis. Rutley (2010) argues that possession of computer skills is very important because it contributes to UAV safe operation in the USAF. Although, the UAVs are fully automated, the equipments still require the assistant of human for the take-off and landing. All these operations are being control through the automated computer systems. In the UAV operations, computer must suggest the operation, which human must approve. Thus, it is very important for a UAV pilot to possess computer skills since the efficiency of operators is very important for the safety of the UAVs.

Chapter VI: Conclusion

Based on the findings, the questions 3 supports the first research hypothesis because 40% of the respondents are able to agree than it is important have minimum of 100 flying hours for a pilot to demonstrate effective UAV operation. Although, unmanned pilots are controlling the UAV operation, there is still evidence that accidents still happen in UAV operation just like the manned aircrafts. Thus, the researcher supports the opinion of the 40% of the respondents of questions 3 because pilot experience could enhance UAV safety. Pilots could use the experience previously accumulated in the manned aircraft to enhance UAV safety operations.

Similarly, based on the findings of the second hypothesis, the question 13 supports the thesis with 100% certainty because the findings have revealed that 100% of the respondents have not been involved in human related aviation safety incidents. To look at the results from another angle, the respondents indicate "No" to questions 13 because none of them has had experience in the human related safety aviation. Having non-experience in human related aviation safety does not mean that lack of involvement in a human related aviation safety does not contribute to being a safe UAV operator in the USAF. The findings of the thesis are only based on the opinion of the respondents. Critical look at the findings reveals that there is still a need for further research on the human related aviation safety to justify its contribution on the UAV operations.

Essentially, overall safety requirements for the UAV system are equivalent for the safety requirements of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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