Go to the NASA Homepage
Search >
Click to Search
Human Systems Integration Division homepageHuman Systems Integration Division homepage Organization pageOrganization page Technical Areas pageTechnical Areas page Outreach and Publications pageOutreach and Publications page Contact pageContact page
Human Systems Integration Division Homepage
Outreach & Publications Sidebar Header
Go to the Outreach & Publications pageGo to the Outreach & Publications page
Go to Awards pageGo to Awards page
Go to News pageGo to News page
Go to Factsheets pageGo to Factsheets page
Go to Multimedia pageGo to Multimedia page
Go to Human Factors 101 pageGo to Human Factors 101 page
What is Human System Integration? Website
Publication Header
Opportunities for and vulnerabilities to error in everyday flight operations  (2001)
Abstract Header
"Analyses of incident reports, jumpseat observations of line operations and task analyses were performed to better understand the causes of pilot error and develop defenses against consequential errors. Between 60 and 80% of aviation accidents and incidents can be attributed, at least in part, to human error. Most incident reports submitted to the Aviation Safety Reporting System are written by experienced, skilled, well-trained and conscientious pilots. Sheer probability could block such incidents from evolving into accidents since performance errors occur on a daily basis in the course of everyday flight operations. Our effort is to move beyond the traditional view of errors as a source of failure toward a better understanding the root causes of system failures. Pilot errors are naturally and predictably occurring events often attributable to many opportunities in the operating environment and to human cognitive vulnerabilities. On the operational side, interruptions and distractions are opportunities for error that are unpredictable in source, timing, and nature. They are the norm in everyday operations. Consequently, their impact is highly underestimated. To respond to distractions, pilots interleave novel activities with habitual, wellpracticed sequences of actions, continuously making decisions about adding, shedding, and/or rescheduling actions. On the human side, error vulnerability arises from cognitive limitations. Memory (particularly for deferred actions), sidetracking and preoccupation with interrupting events, automaticity, assumptions and expectations based on habit make pilots particularly vulnerable to the demands of intrusive events. Thus, interruptions and distractions pose significant threats to pilots during seemingly routine flight operations.

Figure 1 (not shown) starts with a
Private Investigators Header
Authors Header
Groups Header
Keywords Header
aviation accidents, Aviation Safety Repo, cockpit interruption, cognitive, distractions, human cognitive vuln, human error, Memory, navigate, performance flight o, pilot error, routine line operati, taxi
References Header
Download Header
Adobe PDF Icon  Loukopoulos_RT2001.pdf (Download Acrobat Reader Click to download Adobe Acrabat Reader)
  (48KB) (application/pdf)
Go to the First Gov Homepage
Go to the NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration Homepage
Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Jessica Nowinski
Last Updated: August 15, 2019