Human Factors in Aircraft Accidents
Man is to error, and when people are involved in any activity human errors are inevitable sequels. Currently, the rate of accidents caused by poor maintenance has been increasing steadily. In fact, the number of crashes attributable to bad maintenance have doubled while the number of aircrafts have only risen by 55% (Civil Aviation Authority, 2002). The increase in accidents caused by poor maintenance is mainly attributable to increased workload on aircraft maintenance technicians, mainly due to the increased 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. It also results in nearly 50% of the engine related problems and one-third of the failure of aircraft equipment (Civil Aviation Authority, 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 maintenance re-occurrence discrepancies are incorrect installations, fitting of wrong parts, errors in electrical wiring, and leaving of loose objects in aircrafts. Maintenance problems can also be caused by inadequate lubrication, failing to secure access panels, and forgetting to remove the landing gear ground lock pins (Civil Aviation Authority, 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 aim at enhancing proper communication, adherence to repair procedures, and inspection of completed work. Appropriate communication is one of the essential elements in human factors (Civil Aviation Authority, 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 enable trainees to acquire more skills and competencies to reduce the cases of human error. In particular, it should enhance their cognitive abilities by delivering to them the right information, which will, in turn, enable them to have 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. In the convention training methods, there is minimal usage of 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 diagram 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 increased workloads, and the increased need to repair old planes that require intensive inspection. Consequently, aviation-based businesses should use new 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.
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., & S. Salti. (2011). Augmented Reality for aircraft maintenance training and operations support. Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 31(1), 96 -101.
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.