Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research


Terry S. Bowman






Aviation experts and researchers have long known that pilot error is the major cause of aircraft accidents. Estimates of pilot error as a contributor to aviation accidents range from 50 to 90% (Diehl, 1989). The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported in its 1991 review of general-aviation accidents that the pilot was the broad-cause factor in 86.6% of all general-aviation accidents that occurred in 1988. In the 19708, as more human factors specialists entered the aviation safety field, investigators and safety specialists began to place emphasis on the behavioral aspects of aircraft accident preventive measures. The focus was on the "why" of pilot error in the hope of lowering the accident rate. Early in the 19808, the NTSB began performing human analyses and gathering human factors data during investigations (Nance, 1986). Also, in 1980 the NTSB established a human-performance division with an expanded staff of specialists (Diehl, 1989).



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