Aeronautics and Space Report of the President FY 1995 Activities


Aeronautical Activities

Aviation Medicine and Human Factors

During FY 1995, personnel from the FAA continued their efforts to improve human performance in the national airspace system through research and development. FAA engineers developed a prototype automated performance measurement system to provide objective measures of crew and aircraft performance. They also enhanced a tool for systematic air traffic operations research by providing machine-based measures of the factors affecting the workload/taskload of controllers. FAA personnel developed a prototype version and began to evaluate it in the TRACON environment. FAA engineers developed a model advanced qualification program for regional airline operations, enhancing aircrew safety and efficiency, as well as a prototype computer-aided debriefing station for crew performance review following line-oriented flight training simulations. The FAA also acquired an advanced general aviation simulator to support a program of research on general aviation human factors.

Also during the fiscal year, the FAA produced a Human Factors Guide for Aviation Maintenance, which provided maintenance managers with established principles of job design and work in a form suitable for day-to-day reference use. FAA personnel implemented an FAA Aircraft Certification Human Factors and Operations Checklist for standalone GPS receivers. FAA researchers joined with their colleagues from NASA and industry to investigate data-link technology to solve the problems of frequency congestion and voice communication errors; the researchers identified impacts on transmission time, formats, and procedures. FAA personnel continued their efforts in an interagency study on the effects of shiftwork and fatigue on job performance.

The FAA sponsored numerous air traffic control and airway facilities human factors projects at its Technical Center. Projects included research on controller memory enhancement involving simulation research in the Human Factors Laboratory. Researchers made progress on controller-performance measurement and controller-selection tools. FAA technicians conducted airway facilities projects, including extensive prototyping for operations control center designs and the development of standards as a resource for future system design work. Finally, FAA security personnel initiated research on security human factors to evaluate such factors as alternative baggage screener training systems.

The FAA acquired a Boeing 747, which was being retired from flight service, for integration into the aircraft cabin evacuation research program. Researchers used data from window exit cabin evacuation studies to substantiate FAA decisions about exit pathway widths. Dynamic impact studies provided information for decisions on child safety and restraint systems, as well as side-facing seat-restraint designs. The FAA initiated a joint study with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health on aircraft cabin environmental conditions, particularly cosmic radiation exposure and cabin air quality.


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Curator: Lillian Gipson
Last Updated: September 5, 1996
For more information contact Steve Garber, NASA History Office,
sgarber@hq.nasa.gov