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The issue of the safety of aviation is of critical importance because aircraft crashes, runway excursions, and other types of air accidents always remain a potential risk to the lives of both passengers and aircraft staff. However, there is one more aspect to this problem. Air transport is perhaps one of the most feared types of transport among the population. Thus, to persuade clients to use an aircraft, it is crucial to keep the risks as low as possible; otherwise, many people might decide not to use air transport at all. Air transport is much safer than most types of surface transport (Wiegmann & Shappell 2003); nevertheless, lowering the risk of air accidents always remains an important problem.
A significant proportion of accidents in the air industry is related not too technical issues but to human factors. Chang, Yang, and Hsiao (2016) identified a range of human factors that may impede a pilot’s performance and ability to manage an aircraft that lands or takes off; these touch upon a wide array of individual peculiarities and social relationships of a pilot; van Dijk, van de Merwe, and Zon (2011) studied the impact of eye movement on situation awareness; it was found out that different regimes of sleep may significantly affect the physical state of pilots, increasing the chance to err (‘Aviation human factors’ 2015); and Davey (2004) researched the impact of educational atmosphere on the future qualities of pilots which may affect their performance.
However, it is reasonable to expect that there are gaps in the literature related to this topic. Furthermore, the progress of technology and developments in education might allow for compensating for human factors that we’re incapable of being addressed before, and avoid possible errors; such factors and errors might need to be studied in more detail to be dealt with properly. This corroborates the need for further studies of human factors which would identify the most relevant factors, permitting for finding ways and providing recommendations aimed at preventing the related risks.
By the end of the project, it is aimed to contribute to the research about the human factors affecting the performance of pilots by studying these factors and considering the newest technological developments permitting for compensating for their adverse effects.
- To review the existing studies about the effect of human errors on the pilot performance.
- To identify the currently utilized courses and training that pilots gain to improve their skills.
- To explore the new programs and methods of training which have the potential of enhancing the pilot performance and increasing the levels of aircraft safety.
- To analyze the most prevalent reasons for the recent accidents in the aviation industry, and the role of human errors in these incidents.
- To consider the developments in the aviation industry that might allow for better pilots’ performance.
- To collect and examine data related to the impact of human factors on pilots’ performance by employing a survey for pilots.
- To suggest several ways to avoid human errors and provide a better pilot performance to increase in-flight safety.
By the end of the project, it is expected to reach the established objectives of the study, which might allow for finding ways to increase the levels of safety of individuals who travel or work on aircraft. As a result of the project, it is desirable to provide a review of the current studies about the issue of human errors, and identify the impact of these mistakes on the performance of pilots; to describe the peculiarities of pilot training programs and consider the effect of the curricula and training on the skills and abilities of pilots, as well as to take into consideration the new developments in this field; to make an overview of new curricula and methods of training which might help pilots avoid mistakes or lower the influence of human factors on the aircraft safety, and to come up with several ways that might be useful in lowering the rates of human errors in the aircraft industry.
The part of the study that involves processing the already existing knowledge will employ a deductive approach. More specifically, a review of research literature will help achieve most of the established objectives of the study. The limitations are those of a secondary study; the collected data might be heterogeneous and incomplete, its quality will not be controlled closely, etc.
On the other hand, collecting and examining the data about the impact of human factors on pilots’ performance will employ an inductive approach. Inferential procedures may be utilized to conclude such a study. The limitations include limited capabilities of data collection, possibly small size, and the approximation of the results.
Risk Analysis and Contingency Planning
The review of the literature does not suggest that any risks might become a significant source of trouble while conducting this study. On the other hand, the collection of data from pilots is related to several difficulties such as the need to find a large enough sample. However, it seems that these and similar issues will not become significant sources of risk.
To carry out the described study, it will be needed to collect the data related to the influence of human factors on flight safety. The data will be obtained primarily from research studies the results of which were published in peer-reviewed academic journals. A vast array of such articles may be accessed by utilizing the university library. In particular, several scientific databases (such as ProQuest or EBSCOhost) might be employed to find the desired data. In addition, because it will be required to collect information about recent accidents in the aircraft industry, it might be possible that a need in reviewing online news related to the topic arises.
Of course, it will also be necessary to collect primary data from pilots of aircraft by using a survey.
Code of Ethics
The possible ethical considerations of the study which is offered in this paper are related to the fact that the data which will be collected from the pilots might be related to their features. However, during the study, it will be attempted to collect only that data that has an impact on the performance of a pilot. It is clear that before conducting the survey, the researcher will have to obtain informed consent from those who will be the respondents of the study. It will also be necessary to ensure that the privacy of the participants is kept.
‘Aviation human factors related industry news’ 2015, Aviation Psychology and Applied Human Factors, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 67-69.
Chang, YH, Yang, HH, & Hsiao, YJ 2016, ‘Human risk factors associated with pilots in runway excursions’, Accident Analysis and Prevention, vol. 94, pp. 227-237.
Davey, CL 2004, ‘The impact of human factors on ab initio pilot training’, Gender, Work and Organization, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 627-647.
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Van Dijk, H, van de Merwe, K, & Zon, R 2011, ‘A coherent impression of the pilots’ situation awareness: studying relevant human factors tools’, International Journal of Aviation Psychology, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 343-356.
Wiegmann, DA, & Shappell, SA 2003, A human error approach to aviation accident analysis: the human factors analysis and classification system, Ashgate Publishing Company, Burlington, VT.