Date of Award

Spring 2011

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Blickensderfer, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Albert Bouquet, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Nancy Lawrence, Ph. D.


Aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs) provide the technical and applied knowledge required to maintain airworthiness in aircraft. In commercial aviation, maintenance tasks are performed across multiple shifts. When AMTs share a maintenance task between shifts, the shift turnover strategy used may determine if information is effectively transferred between AMTs. Ineffective shift turnover strategies are a contributing factor in many aviation accidents and incidents. Additionally, time constraints on certain maintenance tasks may cause AMTs to commit error when performing a task. The present study examined the effect of shift turnover strategy (face-to-face or written) and time pressure on error capture, accuracy, and completion time of a maintenance task that was shared between two shifts. Forty AMT students completed an unfinished maintenance task while subjected to conditions of shift turnover strategy and time pressure. Three dependent variables, the number of skill-based errors, the number of trigger event errors, and task completion time measured AMT performance. Results indicate that the face-to-face shift turnover strategy was significantly more effective in preventing trigger event errors than the written strategy. Additionally, AMTs under time pressure completed the task significantly faster than AMTs not under time pressure. Therefore, the current study partially supports the argument to require face-to-face shift turnover strategies in aviation maintenance. Thus, the use of the face-to-face strategy may increase AMTs understanding of the task, as suggested in the literature.