Date of Award


Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aviation


Doctoral Studies

Committee Chair

Scott A. Shappell, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Alan J. Stolzer, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Haydee M. Cuevas, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Maggie J. Ma, Ph.D.


An analysis of accident and incident data from the Federal Aviation Administration Runway Safety database and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) database was performed to determine causal factors for airport surface deviations over a 12-year period, from January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2012. The Human Factors Analysis and Classification System was used as the framework to analyze the NTSB data for causal factors.

Analysis of the NTSB data produced 289 airport surface deviation cases, which were analyzed for causal evidence, and the results indicated that skill-based errors occurred at least once in the largest frequency of airport surface deviation accidents and incidents investigated by the NTSB. The unsafe acts precursor of communications, coordination and planning contributed to the second highest frequency of airport surface deviation accidents and incidents over the period of interest. The study also noted that trends for Category A and B runway incursions declined over the period but trends for Category C and D runway incursions, and the total of all runway incursion categories and skill-based errors, increased over the period of interest.