Human Factors Contributing to Unstabilized Approaches and Landings in Commercial Aviation Incidents: An Analysis of Asrs Reports

Garrin Edward Ross, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the human factors reported as contributing to operational incidents of unstabilized approaches and landings in United States-based commercial aviation. While previous aviation safety studies have analyzed aviation incident data when investigating the human factor influences during commercial aviation operations and incidents, unstabilized approaches and landings have not been explicitly examined using similar methods. Informed by the findings and recommendations of the Flight Safety Foundation’s Approach and Landing Accident Reduction Task Force, this study examined and analyzed the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) incident report data from unstabilized approach and landing events. The study used a nonexperimental, single-group, quantitative ex post facto design, and binomial logistic regression analysis to test associations between the ASRS-coded human factors and reported unstabilized approach outcomes. Results revealed that there were statistically significant differences in the outcome of unstabilized approaches (χ2(1) = 6.579, p = .01, w = .26), with less than 37% of the reported unstabilized approaches being responded to with go-around compliance. However, results from the binomial logistic regression did not reveal significant associations of the ASRS-coded human factors with the likelihood of unstabilized approaches being continued to landing rather than go-around compliance. The continued investigation of human and non-human factors identified as contributing to reported incidents of unstabilized approaches and landings is v recommended. Results from such investigations have the potential of informing effective go-around compliance training designs.