Aviation Human Factor

Flydubai Boeing 737-800 stopped after attempting to take off at Moscow airport


In the latest safety incident relating to commercial aviation, a Fly Dubai B-737 stopped the takeoff roll at Moscow airport due to the presence of an Aeroflot aircraft crossing the takeoff runway. The reason for the incident and the root cause will be determined after the incident is investigated.https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=218938

This blog is to highlight the safety engineering control initiated by Euro Control and which has been implemented in Paris, Charles De Gaulle airport.https://www.eurocontrol.int/runway-status-lights

It is a great initiative by Eurocontrol ;however, not all airports will be able to implement such systems. There will be other busy airports with runway crossings that will still be vulnerable to human error on part of the pilot and/or Air Traffic Controller.

Whenever safety related incidents are analysed by the experts, they come up with recommendations. These recommendations then transform into action by the regulator and/or the operator. The controlling action is dependent on the severity and the probability, or the risk involved. Following are the common measures taken by safety experts.

The most effective method is to eliminate the hazard. Unfortunately, this will result in cessation of the activity itself and will lead to bankruptcy. This will obviously be the last resort if things go out of control.

The next best method is to replace the hazard. This will result in inefficient operations and will affect the financial viability.

Engineering controls and administrative controls are effective means of balancing safety and sustainability. An example of an engineering control is the runway status lights. This gives a clear unambiguous signal to the pilot for the action warranted in that particular scenario.

A senior pilot commented that the Runway Awareness Advisory System is a great tool and works accurately. No doubt, it would work accurately, but look what the EK pilots ended with at DXB. After the long float, the RAAS activated accurately but the pilot’s action to the evasive maneuver was not what the book called for! The aircraft was burnt to ambers.

Controlling human behaviour one of the means to change the way people work or administrative control. Being attentive and fully present in the situation allows the human to build a realistic picture of what is transpiring in her/his environment. The human can then take a more informed decision rather than a hurries decision with limited inputs.

Being mindful helps reduce stress and anxiety. It also prevents cognitive dissonance. The risk appetite reduces thus a successful and a safer outcome is ensured.