Author Archives: Jennifer Wilson, Ph.D.

Humm... Am I a human factors expert?

There are a lot of definitions of Human Factors out there … so let me add one more. Human Factors is the application of knowledge about human capabilities and limitations to design for safe, comfortable, and efficient use. [This definition is an amalgamation of a number of definitions but most particularly the definitions found in Alphonse Chapanis’ 1995 Ergonomics in Product Development: A Personal View, and Martin Helander’s 1997 The Human Factors Profession.] And, when Human Factors is effectively included in the design process, the product can enjoy a number of benefits.  Some benefits include minimizing the potential for use error; reducing the amount of required training and guidance material to use your product; and increased user satisfaction, productivity, and confidence in your product. A thought more common than you’d expect is: Last time I checked I was human, so aren’t I a human factors expert? Isn’t it just common sense?  … Continue reading

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FAA-Op-Reqs-121-125-135

As you may know, FAA Title 14 CFR Parts 135, 121, and 125 define the Operational Requirements for various types of operations conducted in U.S. airspace.  But do you know when each one applies? This can get a bit tricky, so I’ll try to unravel the applicability of the operational requirements for various passenger carrying operations. Specific attributes of the operation, design, and configuration of the aircraft are used to determine which of these three Operational Requirements are applicable to a particular operation to be certified. FAA Operational Requirements The three FAA Title 14 operational requirements and their full titles are: Part 135 – Operating Requirements: Commuter And On Demand Operations And Rules Governing Persons On Board Such Aircraft Part 121 – Operating Requirements: Domestic, Flag, And Supplemental Operations Part 125 – Certification And Operations: Airplanes Having A Seating Capacity Of 20 Or More Passengers Or A Maximum Payload Capacity … Continue reading

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Regulation_14CFR25.1302

3rd post in the series Whether you are designing and then later modifying a single avionics component or a full aircraft, aviation projects can take a long time to move from paper to production. Since a certification basis is typically defined early in a product’s life, there can be a fairly long lag between the time a new rule is released and when that rule officially gets added to the laundry list of rules that a particular product must comply with. So, the big question is: when will the newly released 14 CFR 25.1302 get added to your cert basis? We heard this question a lot during the recent research project that we did for the FAA to gather information about the state of industry and FAA understanding and practices that may impact the effective implementation and compliance with the (at the time proposed) 14 CFR 25.1302 regulation. (Note: This … Continue reading

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federal-register-page-for-14cfr25.1302

This is an exciting day! After a lot of hard work by many folks, 14 CFR 25.1302 regulation has been released. As you may already know (or have read about in our blog series about the 14 CFR 25.1302 regulation), 14 CFR 25.1302 is a general applicability FAA regulation that includes explicit requirements for design attributes related to avoiding and managing flight crew error. While FAA 14 CFR 25.1523 and corresponding Appendix D have addressed some related design attributes, this proposed FAA regulation represents a much more global approach to human factors on the flight deck and will require system and equipment designers to consider human error and feedback in their design and testing of flight deck interfaces. And, today, the final rule for 14 CFR 25.1302 has been published in the Federal Register.  You can find the published rule on the Federal Register: 14 CFR 25.1302 Installed Systems and … Continue reading

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aircraft_landing

Everyday small aircraft and business jets fly safely and effectively with a single pilot behind the control stick in the flight deck.  But, currently large aircraft (e.g., those with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) greater than 12,500 lbs), must have at least two pilots in the flight deck to fly the plane.  So, what would it take to be able to certify large Transport Category Aircraft for Single Pilot Operations (SPO)? Well, we’ve just begun a research project for NASA to begin to contribute to answering this question.  In our project, we will explore the processes used to evaluate and certify an airplane design and operations for a particular minimum flight crew (single pilot or crew of two or more).  We will use this information to build an understanding of certification issues and regulatory challenges that would be related to gaining FAA approval for Single Pilot Operations in categories of … Continue reading

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Regulation_14CFR25.1302

2nd post in the series As you may have read in the first post of this series, a new FAA regulation is tentatively slated to hit the streets in early 2013.  It is the proposed FAA 14 CFR 25.1302 Installed systems and equipment for use by the flightcrew and is the first general applicability FAA regulation to include explicit requirements for design attributes related to avoiding and managing flight crew error. You may be asking: Why has this regulation been created?  Haven’t we already covered everything important in the regulations of 14 CFR Part 25? Well, let me give you my answer (which obviously is not an official FAA response … cue announcers voice: “the views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the FAA, its employees, or the Screen Actors Guild. No animals were harmed during the writing of this … Continue reading

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Regulation_14CFR25.1302_small

1st post in the series A new FAA regulation is tentatively slated to hit the streets in early 2013.  It is the proposed FAA 14 CFR 25.1302 Installed systems and equipment for use by the flightcrew and is the first general applicability FAA regulation to include explicit requirements for design attributes related to avoiding and managing flight crew error. While FAA 14 CFR 25.1523 and corresponding Appendix D have addressed some related design attributes, this proposed FAA regulation represents a much more global approach to human factors on the flight deck and will require system and equipment designers to consider human error and feedback in their design and testing of flight deck interfaces. The FAA 14 CFR 25.1302 was initially developed as a harmonized regulation with the EASA CS 25.1302 regulation.  Since the release of the EASA regulation in 2006, several manufacturers have had projects that required demonstrating compliance with … Continue reading

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easa-homepage

Unless you’ve looked closely at EASA Certification Specifications, you may not realize that they are set up differently than FAA’s Regulations. I am pretty comfortable navigating the FAA’s Airworthiness Regulations but when I began my search for Federal Register Preamble-type information for the EASA CS 25.1302 regulation, I quickly became lost.  I tried to find some explanatory information about how the EASA Certification Specifications and related information were organized but came up blank.  I knew what I had to do. I dug in and started reading ALL the documents and before long the structure became clear. Since a good description was hard to find, I thought it would be helpful to share what I learned related to how EASA’s Certification Specification are organized and where to find detailed information about the background, rationale, and related rule making activities for a particular rule of interest. Organization of EASA Airworthiness Specifications EASA’s … Continue reading

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aviation-healthcare-fields

Healthcare has a lot in common with Aviation when it comes to Human Factors issues. Beyond the fact that humans are performing the jobs, they seem like really different fields.  However, on closer consideration there are several important ways that they are similar … and represent opportunities for one field to benefit from the other field’s lessons learned. Just a few ways that the fields of healthcare and aviation are similar: Environment – The tasks are performed in a highly dynamic, complex, stressful environment.  The human must maintain an awareness of all relevant aspects of the situation and communicate accurately and efficiently to others around them. Timing – There may be long periods of uneventful monitoring of a situation, followed by an unexpected, life-threatening crisis that they must troubleshoot and resolve. Professionals working in teams – The people working in the fields are highly-trained and must rely on other highly-trained … Continue reading

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