Human Factors and Ergonomics in Aviation

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Growing up, I always wanted to become a pilot. However, where I come from, Rwanda, there was no aviation school by the time I went to college. In addition to that, it was more complicated to apply for a US visa to train in piloting than to attend a four-year college. So here I am at Tufts University majoring in Human Factors Engineering instead.

However, I appreciate being introduced to the field of human factors because it has brought so much into perspective that I would not have learned if I had only concentrated on piloting. In fact, in case I chose to pursue my dream of becoming a pilot, I will operate very well as I will be applying the understanding of the human psychology in regards to the functioning of a plane.

In the blog today, I would like to share with you about three applications of human factors and ergonomics in aviation that I was able to read in the article ” Human Factors Contribution to Aviation Safety” that was written by Dumitru and Boşcoianu (2015).

First, human factors are applied in aviation to manage human error. In order to reduce errors and mistakes a pilot may do, aviation human factors engineers are supposed to design the airplanes in a way that will be very clear to the pilot to avoid confusion that may lead to errors hence risking lives of many people.

In addition to that, an airplane that is designed following proper human factors and ergonomics should make it easy and fast for the pilot to process information. For example, in case of emergencies airplanes should have outstanding heuristics in order to instantly take appropriate measures before massive damages.

Finally, human factors in aviation play a big role in avoiding fatigue. Air transport enables traveling very long distances without resting for pilots. Therefore, pilots need to use airplanes that are human-centered designed i.e do not add more unnecessary, tiresome tasks.

Image result for well designed airplane controller

This was all for today. I hope you learned a little bit about why human factors and ergonomics are very important in aviation and many other related fields. In the following blogs, I will continue to explore opportunities for having the knowledge about human factors. Stay tuned!

References:
http://www.blog.kpmgafrica.com/africa-brief-air-namibia-bags-seventh-airline-award-and-more/
http://www.afahc.ro/ro/afases/2015/afases_2015/air_force/Dumitru_%20Boscoianu.pdf
https://www.avsim.com/pages/0312/XPlane/XPlane.html

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5 Responses to Human Factors and Ergonomics in Aviation

  1. It is fascinating to hear of human factors as a part of a personal journey for you. How do you think you might incorporate your knew knowledge of human factors if you become a pilot or perhaps an aviation engineer in the future?

  2. Profile photo of hadeye01 hadeye01 says:

    I am amazed about your journey with aviation and how you want to combine that with human factors. I’m excited to see the rest of your blog. I would really like to know about the human factors interations in the design on airports in the first place

  3. Profile photo of Minna Trinh Minna Trinh says:

    I like how you talk about your journey that lead you to study Human Factors here at Tufts. It is exciting to learn how your trajectory changed, and I hope that you do someday pursue your dream as a pilot, or even redesign a landing gear controller or some other aspect of a plane. I like how you mention that human factors help pilots avoid fatigue through limiting tiresome tasks for them (and thus, allowing them to travel far distances). I would like to learn more about the design choices that limit pilots or allow pilots to perform their job in your future blogs.

  4. Profile photo of Claire Huang Claire Huang says:

    I definitly agree that human factor must have played a significant role in designing buttons, levers, and even the space for the pilot seat in the cockpit. It is fun to just think about how much calculation and deliberation was inputted within the design of transportation control rooms. It is certainly necessary to ensure safety and at the same time, it will inspire further polishing so that better design can be produced. It is really nice to hear about your dream of wanting to become a pilot as well, with knowledge on human factors, you will be a great pilot who won’t be deceived by only his perception.

  5. This is a great example of how human factors can be used to enhance user safety. Planes have been adapting over time as new technology becomes available and one can safely say that it is important to keep human factors in mind when incorporating new changes. This becomes even more important when we consider how pilots need to make split-second decisions in the case of a disaster. I think it would be interesting to explore specific parts of the plane that have been ergonomically designed.

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