Student’s Names
Institution Affiliation
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Human Factors in Aircraft Accidents
People are prone to error, and when they are involved in any activity human errors are inevitable sequels. Over the last decade, the rate of accidents caused by poor maintenance has been increasing steadily. In fact, the number of crashes attributable to bad maintenance has doubled, while the number of aircrafts has only risen by 55% (Civil Aviation Authority [CAA], 2002). The increase in accidents caused by poor maintenance is mainly attributable to the growing workload on aircraft maintenance technicians, mainly due to the pressing need to repair old planes that require intensive inspection.
In aircraft maintenance, human errors occur either in the form of damages that happen during the repair process or due to the inability to detect unsafe conditions in aircrafts. Poor airplane maintenance results in enormous losses for aviation-based businesses. In fact, it is among the top three causes of aviation accidents. Currently, about 12% of all accidents are due to poor maintenance (CAA, 2002). The latter also results in nearly 50% of the engine-related problems and one-third of the aircraft equipment failures (CAA, 2002). Consequently, an improvement in aircraft maintenance can effectively reduce the number of preventable aircrafts accidents.
According to the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, the leading causes of re-occurring maintenance discrepancies are incorrect installations, wrong fitted parts, errors in electrical wiring, and loose objects in aircrafts. Maintenance problems can also be caused by inadequate lubrication, failure to secure access panels, and forgotten landing gear ground lock pins (CAA, 2002). Overall, the maintenance errors are usually preventable since they are caused by incorrect installations and the lack of proper quality control inspection.
Given that it is possible to prevent maintenance-related errors, training for the order should be aimed at enhancing communication, adherence to repair procedures, and inspection of completed work. Appropriate communication is one of the essential elements in human factors (CAA, 2002). Therefore, aviation-based businesses must ensure information is clear and coherent since a lack of communication within an airline can result in serious flaws.
The training should be efficient to allow trainees to acquire more skills and competencies to reduce the cases of human error. In particular, it should enhance their cognitive abilities by providing them with the right information, which will, in turn, help them achieve a high retention and recollection rate. According to De Crescenzio et al. (2011), trainers should use the augmented reality (AR) technique to improve their teaching skills. The conventional training methods use minimal graphical descriptions when teaching theoretical subjects. As such, Shanmugam and Robert (2015) note that the participants are usually less attentive, and the retention rates vary between 67 and 92 percent. Therefore, visual presentation of training materials has been found to result in better understanding. In particular, pictures and block diagrams support trainees in cognitively related subjects and enhance their abilities to recall. Moreover, these methods enable the participants to self-assess their levels of understanding of various topics before the training. The early exposure to training topics makes the participants realize their weaknesses. As a result, they become more attentive, which improves their learning and recall rates.
Overall, the challenges in the maintenance of aircrafts will become more complicated in the future due to growing workloads and the increasing need to repair old planes that require intensive inspection. Consequently, aviation-based businesses should use newer and more efficient training approaches that will enable trainees to have higher retention and recall rates. The use of attractive visual presentation, the inclusion of case studies, and the use of pre-training examinations will enable participants to realize their training needs, which will result in higher learning outputs and enhanced competencies.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
References
Civil Aviation Authority. (2002). Cap 718: Human factors in aircraft maintenance and inspection. Retrieved from https://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP718.PDF.
De Crescenzio, F. Fantini, M., Persiani, F., Di Stefano, L., Azzari, P., & Salti, S. (2011). Augmented Reality for aircraft maintenance training and operations support. Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 31(1), 96 -101.
National Transport Safety Board [NTSB]. (n.d.). Aviation: Data & stats: 2014 NTSB US Civil aviation accident statistics. Retrieved from https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/data/Pages/AviationDataStats2014.aspx.
Shanmugam, A., & Robert, P. (2015, August 9-14). Human factors in training for aircraft maintenance technicians. Proceedings 19th Triennial Congress of the IEA, 1-7. Retrieved from http://www.iea.cc/congress/2015/1749.pdf.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix 1

Table 1
General Aviation Accident Rates, 2005-2014
Calendar Year Fatal Total
2005 1.385548992 7.21262419
2006 1.285318293 6.355648573
2007 1.209135624 6.944133064
2008 1.21466466 6.875791286
2009 1.318194643 7.094283896
2010 1.249515352 6.639491168
2011*
2012 1.307409087 7.054262218
2013 1.13890799 6.279384596
2014 1.310062211 6.234264917

Source: National Transport Safety Board [NTSB], n.d.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix 2
Figure 1:
General Aviation Accident Rates, 2005-2014.
Source: NTSB, n.d.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix 3

Table 2
General Aviation Accidents, 2005-2014.
Calendar Year Fatal Total
2005 321 1671
2006 308 1523
2007 288 1654
2008 277 1568
2009 275 1480
2010 271 1440
2011 270 1471
2012 273 1473
2013 222 1224
2014 257 1223

 
Source: NTSB, n.d.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix 4
Figure 2:
General Aviation Accidents, 2005-2014.
Source: NTSB, n.d.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Appendix 5
The table below combines information on accidents involving air carriers (regulated by Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 121), commuter and on-demand carriers (regulated by 14 CFR Part 135), and general aviation (regulated by 14 CFR Part 91).
 
Table 3:
Accident Summary for Major Segments of US Civil Aviation CY 2014

Segment Accidents Fatal Accidents Fatalities
Part 121 Air Carriers 29 0 0
Part 135 Commuter on-Demand Carriers 39 8 20
Part 91 General Aviation 1223 257 424
Total US Civil Aviation 1290 265 444

Source: NTSB, n.d.
 
Appendix 6

Table 4
Defining Events for Personal Flying Accidents, 2004
Defining Event Fatal Non-Fatal
Loss of Control-Inflight 93 99
System Malfunction (Powerplant) 25 128
Loss of Control-Ground 1 120
Abnormal Runway Contact 0 107
Fuel Related 4 43
System Malfunction (Non-Powerplant) 6 17
Controlled Flight Into Terrain 9 11
Runway Excursion 1 14
Collision with Obstacle (Takeoff/Landing) 2 12
Loss of Separation/Midair Collision 9 4
Unintended Flight in IMC 10 2
Undershoot/Overshoot 0 11
Low Altitude Operations 4 6
Ground Collision 0 9
Abrupt Maneuver 4 4
Loss of Lifting Conditions 1 6
Fire/Smoke (Non-Impact) 2 2
Wind Shear or Thunderstorm 1 3
Turbulence Encounter 0 4
Wildlife 0 4
Ground Handling 2 0
Bird 0 2
Other 6 15
Unknown or Undetermined 5 7

 
Source: NTSB, n.d.
Appendix 7
Chart 3:
Defining Event for Personal Accidents, 2014
Source: NTSB, n.d.