Managers Perspective Paper

1504 Words Nov 20th, 2010 7 Pages
The Human Factor in Aviation Maintenance
Kenneth L. Arrington
Embry-Riddle University

Aviation maintenance professionals have earned high levels of technical skills training associated with their profession, however research in a number of industrial sectors indicate that up to 80% of accident causes can be attributed to a breakdown in human interaction. Human error cannot be eliminated it is essential fact of the human condition (Maddox, 1998).
Maintenance professionals will always try to avoid making errors. Unfortunately, even the most highly trained and motivated professionals will make mistakes, however, with suitable understanding of the human factor and appropriate training, professionals can mitigate the
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Focus was targeted on [eradicating] accidents with cockpit design and aircrew operations, concentrating on equipment, training, human performance under duress, and vigilance (Reason and Maddox, 1998). Due to numerous catastrophic in-flight tragedies, such as the Aloha Airlines flight 243 in April of 1989 where people were sucked out of the plane, there was a great human outcry for why these types of tragedies occurred. Investigators determined that flight 243 developed structural fuselage deterioration and failure due to decompression caused by rivet failure, owing to the vigilance effect. On the nineteen year old plane, one fourth of the top of the fuselage was sheared of in-flight at 2400 feet, causing passengers to be ripped out of their seats and flung into the air.

The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) held an international conference to address aging aircraft in June of the same year (1989), and the conclusion of the conference was noted, “The more we look at problems in maintenance operation, and particularly those of aging aircraft, the more we saw human factor as some part of the problem (Congressman James Oberstar, pg. 3, 1989). The process of inspecting rivets is monotonous, repetitious, exhausting work susceptible to human error. How do we ensure that the right information is finding its way to the right people at the right time? How do we know whether training or inspectors and mechanics are all it

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