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Running head: ASSESSING THE HUMAN FACTORSAssessing the Human Factors Associated with Aviation AccidentsbyLatoya SheffieldA Research ProjectSubmitted to the Worldwide CampusIn Partial Fulfillment of the Requirementsof course ASCI 490, The Aeronautical Science Capstone Course,for the Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics DegreeEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityJune 2018
ASSESSING THE HUMAN FACTORSAbstractOver the years agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have expressed concern about the growing problem of human factors related accidents in aviation. Human factors also known as ergonomics, is the study of human physical and psychological behavior to a certain environment. The purpose of this research project is to assess and discuss human factors causing over 75 percent of aviation accidents/incidents. The results of the research will break down the most common human factorsrelated to these safety issues. Accidents related to these factors will be introduced along with research of sources to assess whether these accidents are preventable or can be reduced. 2
ASSESSING THE HUMAN FACTORSAssessing the Human Factors Associated with Aviation AccidentsSince the beginning of flight, aviation accidents and incidents have been caused by mechanical and non-mechanical faults. From maintenance crews; pilots; air traffic controllers; weather; or mechanical malfunctions, all can be a direct cause or contributing factor in these injuring and sometimes fatal accidents. However, reports have shown human factor is the most common cause for aviation accidents today. According to Fraga (2007):In the early days of flight, approximately 80 percent of accidents were caused by the machine and 20 percent were caused by human error. Today that statistic has reversed. Approximately 80 percent of airplane accidents are due to human error (pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics, etc.) and 20 percent are due to machine (equipment) failures. (pp. 15) See Figure 1. Statistics such as these exemplifies the need for preventative training to reduce occurrences of related accidents. Understanding the dangers of human error in the aviation industry highlights the intricate safety issues and underlines the need for awareness and education. The scope of this project will be to identify and evaluate common human factors affecting aviation safety. Comparison will be made between accident reports for similarities. The author will review any procedures, training, and/or programs set in place to assist with reducing the number of accidents. The project will evaluate whether human factor related aviation accidents are preventable to some degree.3
ASSESSING THE HUMAN FACTORSFigure 1. Causes of Aviation AccidentsNote.The data on causes of aviation accidents are adapted from “Effect of Reducing Maintenance Errors”, by J. Fraga, 2007, Working Together to Ensure Safe and Efficient Airplane Operation,26, pp. 15. Retrieved from aeromagazine/articles/qtr_2_07/AERO_Q207.pdfaThe data comparable between the years of 1903 and 2003.