There exists a long tradition of human factors (HF) research in the air transport industry, especially on human-machine interactions in cockpits and air traffic control centres, maintenance and training. With respect to safety assessment of new designs, typically the possibilities of failures, errors and resolution actions are evaluated. Despite these research efforts, accidents which are strongly related to human factors continue to happen.

Examples include loss-of-control types of accidents like Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 (2009) and Colgan Air Flight 3407 (2009), air traffic management-related accidents like the Überlingen mid-air collision (2002) and the ground collision on Linate Airport on (2001), and maintenance-related accidents like Alaska Airlines Flight 261 (2000).

These types of accidents include a diversity of human factor issues that contributed to them, and their background and effective mitigating strategies are not always known. Furthermore it is recognized that continuing changes in aircraft operations, including advancing automation and changes in the air ground functional allocation lead to new questions on the relation between human factors and safety.

Achieving a better understanding of these issues and developments is EREA’s drive for research on human factors and aviation safety.