Human Factors and Safety
Human factors play a major role in almost every accident. If you are in a crash then human factors were probably involved. Some of the human factors that might contribute to a crash include:
- a poorly designed instrument interface that led to confusion over where you were or what the aircraft was doing
- a decision to show off your piloting skills by buzzing some friends on the ground
- a failure to notice a developing problem because you were preoccupied with some other issue
- a decision to press on into deterioring weather, because you underestimated the risk and overestimated your personal capabilities
The first factor is an example of an error (or simply a poor engineering choice) made by the manufacturer. Unless you design and build your own airplane, that is pretty much out of your control.
However, the other factors are examples of things that you can control to some degree. Mostly, these are related to poor Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM), and most of this web site is devoted to helping you understand the psychological factors that influence ADM.
Australian Research Study
Take part in a study to identify the type of information acquired in response to a number of simulated aircraft failures.
The collection of PowerPoint presentations has recently been greatly expanded to include a large number of new presentations from the FAA, NASA,
the Coast Guard, and other organizations.
NTSB Issues New General Aviation Safety Alerts
On March 12, 2013, the NTSB met and issued several new safety alerts specifically dealing with General Aviation. Check out the new alerts and view the presentations by the NTSB investigators.
Weather-Related Decision Making -- This program includes actual in-flight videos of light aircraft penetrating marginal VFR and IMC weather and shows you the critical indicators of deterioratring weather. Learn how to select a diversion airport, and practice on several real-world flights.
Can you spot the hazards present in a flight? Knowing what hazards you face is an essential first step in good aeronautical decision making.
In just a few weeks the temperature will start soaring. If you want to fly safety in these conditions, check out this presentation by the NTSB's top density altitude expert.
Read our Book
This is a comprehensive introduction to Aviation Psychology and Human Factors written for pilots.
If you are a researcher, you can download the psychological scales used in this site.