Human factors in aviation

Essay by rzvaan1University, Master'sA+, November 2014

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An Assessment of Industry Awareness and Use of the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Aviation Medicine

Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance and Inspection Research and Development Program from 1989 through 1998

William B. Johnson, Ph.D. Galaxy Scientific Corporation

Jean Watson Office of Aviation Medicine

Federal Aviation Administration


Ten years ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Aviation Medicine embarked on a research and development program dedicated to human factors in aviation maintenance and inspection. Since 1989 FAA has invested over $12M in maintenance and inspection-related human factors research. The Office of Aviation Medicine has nearly lost count of the number of software products, technical publications, and public presentations delivered by the research team. With over 400 technical reports (see and over 15 significant software deliverables, it is time to assess the usefulness of the outcomes of the research. This report looks beyond the long list of research outcomes to assess the impact of the research in industry.

In cooperation with the US Air Transport Association (ATA), the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), and the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) of the UK, the FAA researchers circulated a questionnaire regarding human factors in maintenance and inspection (see Appendix 1). The international industry sample of 122 respondents represented all aspects of the aviation maintenance industry. The results, described herein, show a very active interest in maintenance human factors. Most participants were familiar with the FAA research program and used many of the research by-products. The Research and Development (R&D) program received overall high marks.

1.1 Goals of the Assessment The primary goal of the assessment is to determine the extent to which the research program has influenced human factors in aviation maintenance environments. The survey...