Human Errors in Aviation, Free Essay for Your Use

Published: 2019-10-10
Human Errors in Aviation, Free Essay for Your Use
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Aviation
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1283 words
11 min read


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The project was aimed at establishing the major effects of maintenance and inspection errors in aviation as a type of human error. In the report, the type of errors was reviewed as a major cause of aviation accidents and incidents. Primary data was collected through administration of a semi-structured interview questionnaire from the airlines; Air Arabia, Emirates and Etihad while secondary data was collected from the internet with the specific sources being the Boeing and Airbus databases. The research yielded interesting results which were analyzed and the appropriate recommendations offered for future research and also for the improvement of the aviation sector were given.


I would like to pass my gratitude to everyone who helped me throughout the period of this study. I would not have done it without their moral, physical and spiritual support. My gratitude goes to:

I would first like to give thanks to God almighty for giving me the opportunity and resources to get through with this project.

I am thankful to my university for providing the resource and financial support throughout the period of this research.

I am also grateful to my supervisor for the constructive criticism he provided to me in the course of the research and for always offering the proper guidelines to making this project a success.

I am also grateful to my family and friends for the moral support they gave me through the course of this research.

Finally, I am grateful to everyone who provided me with the information and data used for the research i.e. the interviewees, the Boeing and Airbus staff who contributed to the provision of this data.



The following chapter is aimed at providing the main scope of this study, in it the background of the project will be presented, a justification of the study will then be stated and finally the research objectives will be outlined together with the hypothesis of this study.

Background to the Project

The Everglades accident (1972) is one of the most popular flight accidents in history. The pilots of this aircraft were engaged in a problem solving situation following a landing gear warning light (Wickens et al., 1997). In this scenario, one of the pilots unknowingly disengaged the auto-pilot by touching the steering column causing the aircraft to descend swiftly. As the pilots were pre-occupied with the indicator in the cockpit, an ambiguous question from a controller on the ground did not hint that their plane was descending. Instead the pilots and the controller engaged in a cross-purpose communication which led to the crashing of the plane in the Everglades swamp (Bove, 2002). This is evidently an illustration of how aviation security can be easily compromised by a simple miscommunication between the pilots and the controllers. Categorically such a miscommunication can be termed to as a human error.

Even though air transport is considered to be about 14 times more reliable than road transport, research shows that passengers of a flight are approximately 10 times more anxious than road transport passengers (AFRAZEH & BARTSCH, 2007). This emphasizes the need of aviation (flight) safety through improving the coefficient of reliability and in the bigger picture, reducing and/or completely eradicating the overall flight accidents and incidents which are highly propagated by unaddressed human errors.

Flight safety is of crucial importance in flight industry and in public opinion. Notably, the safety is hinged on not only the air plane and its navigation system (including the technical or the hardware parts) but also on the human factors associated with the aviation sector specifically with the hardware and the technical parts. The interaction can be referred to as the man-machine system. Technical and social sections of an aviation framework interact mutually so as to make the flight systems successful. The Technical system comprises the aircraft and the communication systems therein incorporated in navigating the aircraft from the control towers. On the other hand, the social section is comprised of all the crew members and logistic personnel and their interactions. Moreover, the aviation system is comprised of the environmental factors which influence the effectiveness of the man-machine system (flight work system) in an aviation setup. The environmental factors therein include regulation for various operational and passage corridors, radiation and other natural factors such as the weather and climatic conditions (AFRAZEH & BARTSCH, 2007).

For flight safety to be upheld there is a need for the integration of the technical and the human section such that they function as a unit. Therefore reliability of both the technical and human section is paramount. Technical reliability in this case refers to the quality attributed to a given systems (equipment) behavior within a specified period of time under an identified condition of use with all the environmental factors considered. Human reliability on the other hand refers to human competence for the delivery of special duties in a specified framework within a given acceptable period of time that is considering all the physical and psychological abilities not forgetting the eligible skills and experiences, moral and characteristics peculiarities associated with the subject person (AFRAZEH & BARTSCH, 2007). A vivid relationship of the insofar mentioned sections and factors can be drawn from the block diagram illustrated by figure 1.

Clearly, the safety of everyone involved in the aviation sector is paramount. Human reliability is an essential aspect in the aviation sector and it can only be observed if and only if human errors are minimized or eradicated in the whole aviation process. This can be attained through proper arrangement of the entire aviation process both chronologically and efficiently (AFRAZEH & BARTSCH, 2007).

Figure 1: An illustration of the interaction of the contributing factors to flight safety (AFRAZEH & BARTSCH, 2007)

Purpose of the study

The study will be important in that it will help develop an overview of the human errors associated mainly with the Air Transport Maintenance and Inspection. In so doing, an error management strategy will be developed such that it will benefit the aviation maintenance and inspection sector. An exploration of these errors and the development of an error management framework will help the aviation organizations curb any future misshapes resulting from human errors which are mostly major causes of air travel accidents and incidents.

Statement of problem

The aviation sector is growing at a high rate in terms of popularity and usability. Thorough inspection and maintenance of the aircrafts and all the associated facilities is therefore impeccable. The challenge associated with this activity is however the involvement of human personnel who are very prone to errors and thus make the aviation sector vulnerable. These errors (human errors) are the main causes of fatal accidents and incidents that unfold in the aviation sector claiming so many fatalities. The problem is that there is lack of the perfect error management/ control strategy. An exploration of an effective error management framework is therefore important in a bid to develop such a framework.

Justification of the study

Based on the background theory provided, it is evident that aviation safety is an impeccable aspect for smooth air transport. The maintenance and inspection sector in aviation is one of the sectors that are most susceptible to human errors. Human beings are vulnerable to errors since they adapt and/or respond differently to circumstances such as fatigue, time pressure and many others. In this case the human beings are prone to making mistakes during their activities such as maintenance and inspection of the aircraft in the aviation sector. These errors are the main causative factors of incidents or fatal accidents that occur in the aviation activities. Consequently a study of the human errors and their countermeasures is highly important. The study therefore sets out to study the human error associated with maintenanc...

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