Monday, May 19, 2008


Human factors is a broad field that studies the interaction between people and machines for the purpose of improving performance and reducing errors. As aircraft became more reliable and less prone to mechanical failure, the percentage of accidents related to human factors increased. Some aspect of human factors now accounts for over 80 percent of all accidents. Pilots who have a good understanding of human factors are better equipped to plan and execute a safe and uneventful flight.

Flying in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) can result in sensations that are misleading to the body's sensory system. A safe pilot needs to understand these sensations and effectively counteract them. Instrument flying requires a pilot to make decisions using all available resources.

The elements of human factors covered in this chapter include sensory systems used for orientation, illusions in flight, physiological and psychological factors, medical factors, aeronautical decision making, and crew/cockpit resource management.

Human factors: A multidisciplinary field encompassing the behavioral and social sciences, engineering, and physiology, to consider the variables that influence individual and crew performance for the purpose of reducing errors.

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