NASA should conduct broad-based, interdisciplinary research into the causes, nature, and alleviation of human error, with specific reference to airborne and ATM environments.

  • The most promising theories and experiments should be pursued as part of a continuing, long-range effort aimed at accident reduction.

  • NASA should lead in the development and validation of training and operational strategy and tactics that are intrinsically tolerant to situations demanding divided attention operations by the individual or crew.

  • NASA should work with FAA and industry to address the total human/system concepts and develop methods to ensure valid and reliable system operations.


  1. NASA should conduct research to develop and demonstrate techniques to improve the pilot's situational awareness and spatial orientation.

  2. In addition to its work with the National Incident Reporting System, NASA should work with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board to analyze all available data on aircraft accidents and incidents to determine the history and trend of human errors, contributing factors, type of equipment involved, and other relevant matters.

  3. NASA's research in error alleviation should include:

    • systems that can detect developing critical situations, independent of the crews's alertness, and inform and assist the crew regarding appropriate corrective measures;

    • concepts, methods, criteria, and the technology for error-tolerant system design; and

    • development of prototype, "massively smart" interfaces, both in the simulator and in the air.

  1. NASA, with FAA involvement, should extend its investigations of highly reliable avionics to total system concepts applicable to ATM automation.

  2. NASA should continue its research into four-dimensional guidance algorithms and simulation techniques for ATM.

denoted by the term "cognitive engineering." That term is used throughout this chapter to express the synergy between the traditional disciplines of information science and human factors.

The treatment of cognitive engineering is divided between this chapter and that on Avionics and control (Chapter 10). For the most part, Chapter 10 covers the airborne systems and equipment that implement the on-board information and human factors requirements. This

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