Cognition and Action

Human performance and learning

  • Status: Active
  • Since September 2015

Despite today’s high levels of safety in aviation, there is a persistent category of fatal accidents caused by an inadequate response of the flight crew to unexpected events, such as automation failures, and “jet upsets”. When not timely recovered, these situations may lead to loss-of-control in-flight (LOC-I) and, ultimately, impact with the ground. The increasing degree of cockpit automation of modern aircraft provides considerable support for the crew, and with that the crew’s task has shifted from flying to monitoring. With the increased support and reliability of automation, failures rare and unexpected, increasing the effects of startle. In addition, the remoteness of the flying task, and the added layers of complexity in advanced and interacting flight automation, makes interpretation of anomalies more tasking, so that it may take some time before the crew has recognised the situation and identifies the correct solution.

One of the challenges for aviation therefore is to develop training programs, which adequately educate flight crews in recognizing and managing unexpected situations, and to learn to handle these.

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