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Decision Making in Preflight Operations: A study of memory supports and feedback
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
2008 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to explore how support systems enable human control within normal flight operations. The thesis focuses on the use of memory supports during flight, such as a handheld computing device, memory strategies and checklists. The support systems are studied from the theoretical perspective of Human Factors. In particular, decision making theories have contributed to the thesis. From previous research it is found that feedback to the operator in case of a human error is essential to keep him or her in a safe sequence of decisions and actions.

To facilitate the pilots’ tasks in cockpit, computing devices are out on the market. Several of the technical aids are computers installed in cockpit whereas others are smaller, portable devices with hardware not specifically designed for use in cockpit. Jump-seat observations have been performed at an airline company to explore the pilots’ work process in cockpit where a handheld computing device, with hardware not specifically designed for cockpit, is in use. Subsequent semi-structured interviews were conducted to receive the pilots’ experiences of findings from the observations and to receive descriptions of decisions and support systems.

The thesis includes a description of flight operations from a pilot perspective. The main focus is on operations in the preflight phase where the new computing device is used. Identified characteristics in flight operations are factors such as cooperation, communication, interruptions. Furthermore, identified factors in the decision making were such as routine, environmental constraints, discrete alternatives and dependency between decisions. Feedback points during the sequence of tasks performed with the handheld computing device were distinguished. These points are moments when feedback is possible. For example, when the pilots cross-check tasks they receive feedback from each other. It was found that the pilots did not use every opportunity to receive feedback on their performance. The reason of the non-used feedback point was that it was not required by the Standard Operating Procedures or by any functions or design of the device. Within flight operations in general, it was found that the most important techniques to detect a human error such as a memory lapse were by pilots’ earlier experiences, the use of checklists and by receiving feedback from the other pilot.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , 55 p.
Series
Trita-IEO, ISSN 1100-7982 ; 2008:02
Keyword [en]
Human Factors, Man-Machine Systems, Decision Making, Decision Support, Feedback, Commercial Aviation
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4634ISBN: 978-91-7178-863-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4634DiVA: diva2:13172
Presentation
2008-02-27, Albert Danielsson, SingSing, Lindstedtsvägen 30, Stockholm, 10:00
Supervisors
Note
QC 20101109Available from: 2008-02-12 Created: 2008-02-12 Last updated: 2011-03-07Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Interruptions in preflight: jump seat observations of communication in the cockpit
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Interruptions in preflight: jump seat observations of communication in the cockpit
2007 (English)In: Human Factors and Economic Aspects on Safety: Proceedings of the Swedish Human Factors Network (HFN) Conference, April 5 - 7, 2006, Linköping, Sweden / [ed] Clemens Weikert, 2007, 10-18 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is generally recognised that interruptions is a normal part of pilot’s everyday life. They may however be potentially harmful. Economic demands on airline companies and technical opportunities may change working procedures and alter communication flow, which in turn can affect the way interruptions are dealt with. The present paper seeks to analyse how communication propagates through the cockpit and to illustrate the origins of that communication. To achieve this goal jump-seat observations have been performed. The results indicate that interactions between different processes create potential interruptions for the pilots. By categorising communication with regards to being safety or non-safety related, it is shown that workload and potential interruptions may be handled by task reallocation. The analysis also shows that communication via radio constitutes a greater potential interruption than information via the cockpit door.

Series
HFN Report, ISSN 1654-7551 ; 2007-1
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7974 (URN)978-91-7393-999-7 (ISBN)
Conference
Swedish Human Factors Network (HFN) Conference, April 5 - 7, 2006, Linköping, Sweden
Note
QC 20101108Available from: 2008-02-12 Created: 2008-02-12 Last updated: 2010-11-09Bibliographically approved
2. Support of decisions in the preflight phase
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Support of decisions in the preflight phase
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of the Eighth International NDM Conference / [ed] K. Mosier & U. Fischer, 2007Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

After a reorganisation at a minor Swedish airline, the pilots’ work process in preflight has changed. In the reorganisation, there are added tasks for the pilots, which the pilots manage with support of a handheld device. In this study, support of decisions in the preflight phase is investigated, and in particular support of decisions involved in the added tasks. The data gathering includes jump-seat observations and semi structured interviews with pilots at the airline.

In the preflight phase the pilots prepare for later flying phases and several decisions have to be made. With the handheld device the pilots are provided a wider picture of the flight, which implies that the pilots are more “in the loop”, but the added tasks also mean an increased workload. The decisions would be improved, if the design in the device or the Standard Operating Procedures required cross-checking of input and output data. Such kind of feedback loops would support learning and prevent over and under reliance of the device.

Keyword
Technological support, Human-Machine Interaction, Decision-making, Feedback, Automation, Aviation
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-7975 (URN)
Conference
NDM 8, Eighth International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making
Note
QC 20101109Available from: 2008-02-12 Created: 2008-02-12 Last updated: 2010-11-09Bibliographically approved
3. Detection of memory lapse during flight: a study of back-up systems and feedback
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Detection of memory lapse during flight: a study of back-up systems and feedback
2008 (English)In: CONTEMPORARY ERGONOMICS 2008 / [ed] Bust, PD, 2008, 755-760 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Memory lapses during a normal flight are investigated to determine from which support systems the pilots receive feedback on performance. The role of feedback is analysed by decision making theory and illustrated with a new model. Results from field studies performed at a Swedish airline include descriptions of memory strategies, checklists and a recently introduced Electronic Flight Bag (class 1, type B). By these methods it is possible to receive feedback early in a decision sequence, and prevent human error from becoming dangerous and causing confusing information.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-26002 (URN)10.1201/9780203883259.ch121 (DOI)000266062600121 ()2-s2.0-84859949805 (Scopus ID)978-0-415-46575-5 (ISBN)
Conference
Annual Meeting of the Ergonomics-Society, Univ Nottingham, Nottingham, ENGLAND, 2008
Note
QC 20101109Available from: 2010-11-09 Created: 2010-11-09 Last updated: 2011-03-07Bibliographically approved

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