Category Archive: Human Error

Not Black Hawk Down! Helicopter Crash – Part 4

Survivability Issues in Crash into Water As per their analysis, Brooks et al. surmised that survival after crash in water depends upon “amount of warning time, rapidity of sinking and inversion” [13]. An advise worth following by all helicopter operators, based on this study, is that while flying over water, all occupants in helicopter must …

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Not Black Hawk Down! Helicopter Crash – Part 3

Crashes into Water Flying helicopters over water has an accident rate of 2.0 per 100,000h as compared to 0.4 per 100,000h in fixed wing aircraft, as reported by Civil Aviation Authority’s helicopter airworthiness panel report in 1986 [13]. High fatality rate in case of helicopter crash into water occurs due to sinking of helicopter and …

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Not Black Hawk Down! Helicopter Crash – Part 2

Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Baker et al. reported that there were 178 helicopter crashes from 1983 to 2009 related to offshore oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico. This was based on the database of the National Transportation Safety Board [2, 11]. 30% of those crashes were fatal, with 139 lives lost …

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Not Black Hawk Down! Helicopter Crash

Danger is an inherent component of military helicopter missions. Remember the daring mission launched to capture a Somalian warlord on 3rd October 1993 when an American Black Hawk (Super-Six One) was shot down in the city of Mogadishu. Another area of perilous operations is emergency medical missions and oil and gas operations. Two recent reviews …

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Old Facts, New Insights – Lessons from A-320 Part 4

This interesting study by Sarter and Woods revealed that the automation surprises “occur when the crew detects that automation or aircraft behaviour is deviating from their expectations” [2]. In turn, such ‘surprises’ provide the vital opportunity (and learning) to correct unexpected or undesirable aircraft behaviour.

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Old Facts, New Insights – Lessons from A-320 Part 3

A spate of incidents and accidents during 1990s suggested that pilots flying modern ‘glass cockpit’ aircraft “sometimes fail to detect unanticipated and undesirable automation behaviour in time to recover” [2, 8, 9]. Hence it is important to understand the likelihood of human error for the A-320 pilots monitoring the status and behaviour of the automated …

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Old Facts, New Insights – Lessons from A-320 Part 2

The details of the automation surprises faced by the pilots participating in the questionnaire survey is presented hereafter [2].

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Old Facts, New Insights – Lessons from A-320

Automation surprises result from an imbalance between ‘autonomy’ and ‘authority’ of advanced automated systems and the gaps in the operator’s mental model of the system and its interactions. The vital factor at play in such cases could be low observability interfaces in novel (“nonroutine elements”) situations with operator caught in a bind while trying to …

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Old Facts, New Insights – Surprises in Glass Cockpit

The final report of crash of Air France Flight AF 447 stated that the precipitating event of the accident was “temporary inconsistency between the measured airspeeds…..that led in particular to autopilot disconnection” which was compounded by “inappropriate control inputs that destabilized the flight path” [1]. This accident has brought the focus of the aviation community …

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Who failed in Crash of Flight IX-812? Part 2

Various factors defining the success or failure in a multi-crew operations depend on communication, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making, judgement, leadership – followership, stress management, critique and interpersonal skills [2, 3]. In this tragic accident flawed decision making affected good judgement, leading to deliberately compromised situational awareness, aggravated by self-imposed stress and perceived workload …

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