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Management & Technology

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The presence of human factors in aviation remains a critical area of research given the safety implications of human error. Understanding what specific factors contribute to human error allows managers and operators to take steps to mitigate these hazards. Several methods have been tested in the cockpit and cabin crew environments, but less attention has been given to the aviation maintenance sector, despite the prevalence of accidents resulting from human error. With the introduction of AC-172A, the FAA validated the need for additional research and training on the role of human factors in aviation maintenance errors. However, a key component in this process is often overlooked--the role of decision-making. In aviation maintenance, the environment can change rapidly. Technicians must react and adjust their behavior, and their decision-making abilities, accordingly. Human factors such as fatigue, pressure, and distractions can interrupt cognitive processes and judgment, and in turn, decision-making. As technicians adapt to these environmental challenges, strategies must be in place to facilitate optimal decision-making. Recommendations for addressing the presence of human factors in aviation maintenance and the resulting impact on the decision-making process include taking both a proactive and reactive approach to human error identification. Proactively screening for individuals who are too risk-averse or too comfortable with taking risks can help hiring managers employ the right personnel equipped to make appropriate decisions in high consequence industries, such as aviation. Additionally, by encouraging and reviewing hazard reports, steps can be taken to mitigate human error factors in the future. Anonymous hazard reporting tools such as the REPAIRER allow maintenance managers to leverage existing (and FAA-required) safety management systems (SMS) by including a human factors analysis.

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Collegiate Aviation Review International


University Aviation Association