Brain Training: addressing human factors in aviation
By Ben Vogel
Aviation is a multidisciplinary industry with barely any margin for error given its complex systems and fixed chain of command.
As such, when airport operators and airlines select staff they require some method of differentiating between applicants. Key skills that need to be assessed are motivation, suitability for operational roles, competency to succeed in training and the ability to blend in with the corporate working culture. Long-serving employees need to be assessed along similar lines, to make sure that they remain fresh and alert.
Failure to gauge these human factors can be catastrophic and financially damaging. The Flight Safety Foundation estimates that the annual cost of employee injuries in the global aviation industry is USD5.8 billion, and a further USD4.2 billion in costs for ground accidents and incidents. Many of these accidents can be attributed to Acts of God, but some can be blamed on avoidable human error - IATA studies show that 67 per cent of all human performance problems are traceable to bad (incorrect, absent or unworkable) procedures.
Research consistently shows that human behaviour and performance have been a major factor in most aviation-related accidents. A paper published by Boeing in 2008, for instance, calculated that human error has been documented as a primary contributor to more than 70 per cent of commercial aircraft hull-loss accidents. While typically associated with flight operations, human error is also a concern in ground support activities and air traffic management (ATM).239 of 2665 words
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