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For as long as the human being is part of the aviation

system, human capabilities and limitation will affect

or influence safety.
Human Factors Principles
Human factors are the principles
which apply to aeronautical design,
certification, training and
operations and which seek safe
interface between the human and
other system components by
proper consideration to human
Definition of
Human Factor
Human factors refers to the study of human
capabilities and limitations in the workplace. Human
factors researchers study system performance. They
study the interaction of maintenance personnel, the
equipment they use, the written and verbal procedures
and rules they fellow, and the environmental
conditions of any system. The aim of human factors is
to optimize the relationship between maintenance
personnel and systems with a view to improving safety,
efficiency and well-being.

Human Factors include :----
a) Human physiology
b) Psychology ( including perception, cognition, memory,
social interaction, error, etc…)

c) Work place design

d) Environmental conditions
e) Human-machine interface
f) Anthropometrics (the scientific study of measurements of the
human body )

The need to take human factor
into account
Where human beings are involved in
work the possibility of error is always
present. This factor must be recognized
and dealt with in aircraft operation and
maintenance by every person who
contributes to airworthiness and safety.
Human error recorded a high rate after
aircraft mechanical problems.

Recent statistics show that about 70-80% of
aviation accidents are caused by human error,
and that the pilot error problem having a
higher profile. Maintenance induced accident
are growing and are causing concern.
Studying of human factor is to make aircraft
maintenance engineers aware of the possible
dangers in aircraft maintenance due to their
own performance and others.

Human errors mentioned in accidents
reports lead the International licensing
requirements and design of equipment,
training and operational procedures
being adapted or changed in
accordance to experience learnt from

In Scandinavian countries with the introduction
of JAR 66 licensing opportunity has arisen in
aviation industry. A mandatory requirement of
human factor training within the engineering
aspect of industry had been enforced which
make it possible to standardize the training,
maintenance resource management (MRM ).

During accident investigation it is
becoming more and more apparent ,
especially since human factors are
being taken into account, that the
cause can not just be attributed to
one isolated incident , but there have
been a whole catalogue of errors.
Look at a links in a chain; break one
link and thus the outcome will be

On your opinion :- ,
Do people intentionally make mistakes?
Should we punish people for their mistakes?
Can we learn from our mistakes?

MURPHY’S LAW states :-

If Something Can Go
Wrong, It Will.

Who makes mistakes
a) Flight crew
b) maintenance crew
c) ground crew
d) Air Traffic Controllers
e) designers
f) manufacturers
g) Regulators
and everybody makes inadvertent mistakes

What are Human Factors?
Simply one can say , human factor dealt with interaction of man and

This included:------------
Anthrop-pod-metrics :-- Is the scientific study of the measurements
of the human body.
Human perception
Dynamics :-- will a steady or flashing light attract people

Biometrics and
Physiology ;-- Age and Fatigue

Cognition ;-- knowing of perceiving ( how we know

something or learn a new skill )

Human factor also includes ; -

Workplace interactions :- how we work together as a team, how we

react to each other, how we

Work related stress :- not enough time, goals set to high

Facility design :- Where we are working, do we have

sufficient light, is the hangar big enough,
is it laid out correctly.

Diversity :- We are all different

Environmental :- How the weather may effect the way we


A system consists of functional components which
are co-operating to achieve a certain goal. One
possibility to comprehend a complicated system is to
simplify it by using a model
Models help us to understand by using analogies (process of reasoning
between parallel cases.)

For example the chemical model for water ( H2O )

H+ H


Human Factor approaches human

beings by seeing them as part of a self
contained system. The system also
consists of buildings, tools, regulations
and the environment.
Part of this system is the SHEL model.
It stand for Software, Hardware,
Environment and Liveware.

Software means components which determine how the
system works ( Regulations, procedures, practice,
… etc )

Hardware means setting the hangars, offices, vehicles, test

equipment. etc

Environment is the field in which the system functions such as

hangar, work patterns, management structures,
public perception of the industry, etc..

Liveware are the human beings in the system.

Human factors concentrates on the interface between the
human and the other elements of the SHEL model and,
from a safety viewpoint, where these elements can be
deficient, e.g. :---
S : misinterpretation of procedures, badly written manuals,
poorly designed checklists, untested or difficult to use
computer software.
H : not enough tools, inappropriate equipment, poor
aircraft design for maintainability.
E : uncomfortable workplace, inadequate hanger space,
extreme temperatures, excessive noise, poor lighting.
L : relationships with other people, shortage of manpower,
lack of supervision, lack of support from managers

As seen by the human factor specialists the human
being cannot be isolated from the other factors as
elements of nature influence each other. If one
factor is altered, the other areas will be affected as
well. This means that one can never alter one
component in a system, without influencing the
others. When performing changes in a hangar for
example, one must keep in mind the effect that this
will have on the human on the work instructions
and on the co-operation within the company and
between the company and external systems.
. So all other aspects ( software, Hardware
and Environment ) must be designed or
adapted to assist human performance and
respect his limitations. If assistance and
respect are ignored the maintenance
engineer will not perform to the best of his
abilities, may make errors, and may
jeopardize safety.

Example of accidents/incidents
due to human factor

Maintenance errors are not new phenomenon, but with
more reliable aircraft and human factor training, the
maintenance component as the cause of aircraft accident
has become more noticeable.
The first major investigation regarding engineering and
human factor was the accident to Aloha Boeing 737 which
lost the top of its forward cabin at flight level 24000 feet
causing a stewardess to be sucked out and never found in
addition to seven persons were seriously injured but the
aircraft managed to land. The cause of the accident was
determined to be failure of the maintenance programme
to detect significant desponding and fatigue damage of
the fuselage lap joints which failed due to multiple site
initiated damage.

A British made aircraft , during the climb to
cruise altitude and while passing through 17300
feet, there was an explosive decompression
caused by the release of the left hand
The captain who had released his shoulder
harness and loosened his lap strap was partially
sucked out of the windscreen opening and the
flight deck door was blown on to the flight deck
where it lay across the centre console. The
copilot managed to land the aircraft safely.

The windscreen was found. Of the 90 bolts securing it to
the frame, one remained in the airframe and 29 were
found in the windscreen. The windscreen had been
replaced on the previous night shift.

The cause determined was :-

The replaced windscreen had been installed with 84 bolts

whose diameter were approximately 0.026 of an inch
below the diameter of the specified bolt and 6 bolts which
were of the correct diameters but 0.1 of an inch too short.

An Airbus A320 took off with 185 passengers
and 7 crew members on board with co-pilot
handling. It s configuration slats 18 degrees
and flap 10 degrees. Immediately after rotation
the handling pilot noticed a marked roll to the
right despite the application of almost full left
sidestick. The captain took control and
confirmed the roll problem. The take off was
continued but the aircraft was unable to turn
left and unable to comply with ATC departure
clearance. The aircraft managed to return back
to airport and was always making right turns.

As the aircraft was taxing-in several spoilers on
the right wing were noted to be partially
extended. After examination of the aircraft four of
the five right hand spoilers be selected to
maintenance mode where left free to move under
aerodynamic loads and were isolated from the
hydraulic system. This follows an overnight
change of the right hand outboard flap section
which requires the isolation of the four spoilers
found in maintenance mode.
So all those accidents and incidents were due
to human error, so we have to look beyond the
man to find why he had committed the error.

Those errors may be made by very

experienced person


Sometimes one may find himself in a position of
management and has to control over a work
process with people working under him.
Unfortunately gaining such position, or passing
examinations does very little in teaching any one
how to achieve results on his work. Trying to
achieve a goal or getting things done requires the
help of people. To achieve the desired results
effectively and efficiently, these people need
leaders not managers. Leaders lead people.

Always one must be aware of how his subordinates see
him. Much of suspicion of the idea of leadership comes
from the confusion between authority and
authoritarian ( contrasted with individual liberty ).
Becoming a leader of a group almost brings about
significant changes in one’s relationship with that
group. People who previously reacted as your friends,
suddenly alter their posture towards you. You are up
there and they now below you. You should be prepared
to encounter a wide range of unfavourable responses,
suspicion, distrust, hostility, passive resistance and

People come naturally to these built-in
pattern of negative responses.
Overcoming these difficulties is a problem
and if you do not realize there is a problem
there is no chance of overcoming it. The
secret is to become accepted as a leader.

For the group to function effectively, it is necessary for
all the leadership roles to be fulfilled. The role of the
leader is to serve the group, not to control or dominate
( influence ) it.
For example:-
A chairman’s role requires him to put aside his own
interest and pay full attention to the discussion,
enabling him to pull points together and not allow
discussion to become bogged down ( unable to make
progress ).

Problem ownership is a tricky issue. It is also an issue that
good leaders get right instinctively, while poor leaders get
wrong consistently.
The point is that there are two classes of problems which
leader face.
The first class is that problems owned by their
subordinates, as when some additional resources are
required or when instructions are not understood or when
they complain that something is wrong.
Under these conditions the leader’s function is to provide
problem-solving skill or to represent the subordinates
interests. The leader is clearly serving the needs of his
The second of problems consists of
those which are owned by the leader
and this is the set that is usually
Many leaders who act on the
authoritarian principles use their
position to blame their subordinates
for their own problems.

Examples of leader’s problems include times when
he has to meet a production target, when he
regards some behaviour of a subordinate as
unacceptable and when someone in another
department would not give him the extra
resources he wants.
The key to the ownership of problems is :-

Who is it that is to bothered ?

Who is it who says that there is a problem ?

Where a problem is clearly owned by the leader,
then any attempt on his behalf to force
subordinates to change their behaviour, so as to
solve his problem will accurately perceived by the
subordinates as authoritarian.
A good definition of authoritarian behaviour is
that it occurs whenever a person tries to solve one
of his problems by trying to change someone else,
or what someone does.
This means that it will meet opposition and
provoke the system, which clobber effective

Effective leaders avoid this situation by owning their problems. This
means that they set about tracking their problems, and they do not
attribute them to someone else.
Authoritarian leader might say :-
“Things have got to change in this department, because you did not
meet the production standard last quarter.”
While the effective leader might say :-
“ I have a problem, I was hauled over the goals this morning because
the production figures were not up to the target, I agree d to meet last
This communication makes the ownership of the problem clear and
invites the subordinates to cooperate or contribute to its solution.
It is a strong characteristic of this sort of statement that begins with
“I” and continues to refer to “I”, whereas the authoritarian statements
are usually focused on “You”.

When it is your fault do not be
afraid to say so, take on your
responsibility, say when you are
wrong, do not blame other people
for your inadequacy, you might be
afraid of losing face, but you will do
more harm in blaming other
people over yourself.

Theories about leadership tend to focus on the
question :-
“ What is it that makes one leader more
effective than another ?“
The answer might be by observing carefully
enough how successful leaders operate, it will be
possible to arrive at a theory which will enable
others to become more effective leaders.

It is an assumption that men and women are either
born with the silver spoon of leadership in their
mouths or not, with a corollary (natural sequence ) that
those who possess the inborn or inherent qualities of a
leader will naturally emerge as the head of any group
in which they are placed, regardless of the situation (
they are born leaders ).

All research workers in this field tend to share this
assumption but out of all their work produced only
about 5 percent of the quality mentioned above.
It was by the nature of this theory lay the emphasis on
selection rather than training.
The leader has a symbolic or representative role,
which can best be understood in terms of quality. It is
true for national leaders.

Becoming a leader of a small group depends upon the
situation in which it found itself, including the task
immediately confronting it.
Certain situations might produce political leaders, such as
economic depression, high unemployment, weak
government, disenhancement, disenchantment with
traditional politics and thus a leader might emerge who
recognize the problems and the characteristics or traits
which might fit the need of the situation.
However in a technical or engineering environment the
needs of a group can be ever changing.

There are present in the life of working groups three areas
of need at any time which we ought to look at.
One of the reasons why a group comes together, and the
reason is that there is a task which one person can not do it
on his own.
If a leader has a task to do which is not achieved due to
the fact that he did not put a plan or prepared the needs
required, the group will show signs of anger and frustration
which will probably be vented on the leader.
Thus we can say task will have certain needs, all of which
the good leader must understand and address.
A good leader will look at the needs of the group, he
must be able to hold the group together and
understand the need for group cohesiveness, so that the
group can achieve its purpose.
Individuals bring into the group their own needs
not only the physical ones but also their psychological
ones, such as recognition, a sense of doing something
worthwhile, and deeper needs to give to and receive
from other people in a working situation.
If a group does not achieve its task, disruptive (break up)
tendencies may increase and morale will go down.
Also if relationship within the group is bad, this may
affect even the performance or the task and the need
satisfaction of the individual members.
In the other hand if the group achieves its tasks, then
morale tends to become higher.

Inter-action of group needs

In order that the task shall be achieved, the leader has

to perform certain functions, e.g he has to define/state
precisely what is required, so each individual is left
with no uncertainty of what the task is.
The leader is to make a plan and can use different
methods to formulate his plan, but it must work out
from start to finish.

During planning stage the group should be
involved, they may have good suggestions and
their response to the task will be more invigorated
(give strength) by their involvement.
Also the leader should allocate work to individuals
and be sure they understand details of the task.
The leader must be sure there are enough
resources for the task and a suitable place for
working in addition to light, heat, space, time and
The leader next must control activity of the job,
and evaluate the performance against the plan.
Leadership Styles
(1) Passive Leader

( a) Leaves group to decide,

(b) Does not intervene, (interfere to prevent or change
result in time)

(c) Waits to be approached.

(2) Autocratic Leader
( Ruler with unlimited power)

(a) Gives orders,

(b) Determines policy,
(c) Does not consult,
(d) Gives no detailed information about task or
future plans ,
(e) Remains aloof ( take no part on, stay away).

(3) Consultative Leader

(a) Seeks opinions before giving orders

(b) Discusses policies with group
(c) Ensures group agree policies
(d) Keep group informed
(e) Leads from within

Being a person who understand people
or a person who is prepared to learn
about people will help in your quest of
leadership. However being too people
orientated could lead to you being a
soft touch.
Fair but firm is a good approach.

One problem a new leader encounter, is to get
himself accepted as the official leader. In some
groups there are official and unofficial leaders.
If you are the leader of a group and you do not fill
both these roles then time, effort and a certain
amount of skill will be required to overcome this

Remember this :-

Avoid the authoritarian trap

Try to serve the group
Do not dominate the group
Work towards group cohesiveness
Own your own problems

Planning is:-
a) The process of ascertaining the facts of situation
b) Determining a line of action to be taken in the light of all
the facts
c) Detailing the steps to be taken in keeping with the
chosen line of action
d) The provision of appropriate resources to carry the plan
h) The establishment of standards and checks on progress
to keep the performance as close as possible to the
original plan.

Planning requires pre-vision, thus the leader should
try to cultivate the following approach to planning
a) Try to see every situation as a whole
b) Break down each problem into its elements
c) Exercise imagination and creativity to develop
new methods
d) Be as impersonal and analytical as possible
e) Be able to evaluate the way things are going and
detect variances quickly
f) keep spare time for planning, whatever else

Whatever the nature of the organization its
affairs will be conducted in terms of oral
instructions and communications, written
memoranda and reports, committees and
conference and other forms of
communications. Consequently to a very
large extent, the effectiveness of
management depends on its skill in

Communication is a
Two-way process
Communication involves two kinds of
a) There is active communication
conveying one’s idea to another person.
b) The passive communication,
the ability to absorb and understand the
communications of others.
Active communication
It is classified into three main kinds as follows:-
a) conveying information
This includes imparting facts, describing events or objects,
stating ideas and explaining occurrences.
b) Attempt to change attitude or behaviour
This kind range from quite explicit orders and instructions,
through persuasion, advice and suggestion to begging
and pleading.
c) Expression of feelings towards others
These are communications of praise, admiration, affection
and sympathy, blame, contempt, dislike etc, in which one
person conveys to another his feelings towards him.
managers must be able to explain
clearly and concisely what is to be
done and they must be able to get
people to act in accordance with their

people will tend to ignore communications if :-

a) The subject is not of interest to them

b) The presentation is unattractive and lacking in
c) The communication is so long make it difficult to
maintain concentration
d) They are too busy with other tasks
e) They have become saturated with communications
f) They do not regard the originator as having anything
worthwhile to say

People fail to understand communications when :-
a) They only partially attend them
b) They react emotionally rather than rationally
c) They listen ( or read ) selectively, ignoring aspects of
the communication which conflicts with fixed ideas
d) They lack opportunity to ask questions and obtain
clarification of meaning
e) They anticipate meaning ( I know what you are going to say )
f) The language employed is too vague and imprecise

Ensuring acceptance
Leaders or managers must be able to
convince people that they mean what
they say, that they are sincere, that the
facts are as stated. What matters is not
what you say to people but what they
accept, since it is the acceptance that
determines their actions.

This is affected by ;-
a) The extent to which the communication
reinforces or conflicts with their beliefs and
b) Their respect of the originator itself. The
printed word carries more authority than the
spoken one.
c) The extent to which the communication
appears to be believed and accepted by others
d) The intellectual level and degree of
sophistication of the audience
e) The degree of conviction conveyed by the
Passive communication
The ability to formulate and express ideas and to
secure understanding acceptance of them is part of
leader/manager skill as a communicator. He must
develop his ability to attend to, and understand what
other people ( particularly his subordinates ) have to
say and take steps to ensure communications channels
are flowing freely in his direction.


What matter is not what you tell people but what

they accept, hence good communication must be
based on mutual trust and confidence.
Leaders/managers must show by their actions that
they mean what they say, remembering that every
action of management is, in a sense, a

Model of Transactional
Whenever we try to solve a problem an
argument develops during daily task. This can
be extremely frustrating for all parties
In certain circumstances it can be dangerous.

It also leads to :-

a) Breakdown of morale
b) breakdown of team sprit
c) Extra work load
d) Rework of work done wrong
f) Accidents

So what is to be done?
There is a theory of Psychology
based on a careful study of the
way in which people inter-
related called Transactional
analysis being developed by a
Canadian Psychotherapist
called Eric Berne.
The most fundamental observation was that although
people may think that they behave consistently, in
reality they do not.
when carefully human behaviour is analyzed it
become clear that our state of being (attitude) can vary
dramatically from moment to moment.
There are three attitude states called :-

Parent State
This begins to develop when we are young children, watching and
reacting to our parents and other influential people. Through the eyes
of the child we see the power of the parents and absorb it into our
mannerism, standards, judgment and prejudices. In later life we
sometimes replay our recollection of the behaviour of our parent,
down to tone of voice and choice of words. It is a though a child records
on video tape inside his head how he sees parents and, although the
pictures are distorted by immature eyes, these video films are stored
throughout life ready to be replayed when the right buttons are
The use of the critical parent attitude state tends to result in problems
being ignored, and actions tending to follow established rules even
though the actual situation may require something quite different.
However we all learn the caring side from our parents, but this side of
our attitude does not seem to prevail in conjunction with team work. It
may make us look week, but it is there and we slip into it from time to

Adult attitude state
It develops gradually in childhood and grows to
maturity in the later life. It deals with the world in
a logical manner, collecting facts, weighting
opinions, relating ideas and coming to reasonable
conclusions, are all functions of adult attitude
state. In this state the person behaves as a
computer, everything is based upon the best
available data and logical assumptions are drawn.
In adult attitude state the person tends to think
in diagrams and structures, so it is possible to see
several points of view at the same time.

Child attitude state
It is the state which explains a great deal on the reactions we
receive in verbal communications. We usually think of childhood
as a brief period followed by growing up. However we retain our
childhood throughout life. The child attitude state maybe
inhibited but it never disappears.
Children are spontaneous, joyful, sad, frustrated, demanding,
angry or loving, and they communicate how they feel in an
Children learn to manipulate people and situation to suit their
needs, but are made to comply, with the directives of others.

A person in a child attitude state behaves as they did in the first few
years of their lives. They move, talk, sit, laugh and react as they did
all those years ago. Their thoughts, likes, dislikes and perceptions will
be those they had as children. This people become excessively
excited and over-optimistic, they become irrationally distressed or
disheartened, actions are taken impulsively, data are ignored,
difficulties are taken personally and debates degenerate into childish
Communication can go on as long as the people involved used the
same attitude state.
Example :-
Parent Parent
Adult Adult ( Parallel Transaction )
Child Child ( Crossed Transaction )

Within the aviation industry
Who Makes Mistakes
a) Flight crew
b) maintenance crew
c) ground crew
d) Air Traffic Controllers
e) designers
f) manufacturers
g) Regulators
and everybody makes inadvertent mistake

Human Performance
and limitation
The human performance is affected by :-
1) Physical condition
2) Psychological condition
The physical condition can be due to :-
a) Health of the person body
b) The environment of home
c) The environment of workplace
The psychological condition can be due to :-
a) Mental state of the person
b) Hereditary factors
c) Historical factors
d) Mental pressure
No one can do anything about the hereditary factors
but historical factors such as education due to poor
early environment can be worked on and improved. So
the factors considered to affect human performance
mentally and physically are :-
1) The performance of human body’s senses
2) The effect of the environment of the
workplace on the person.

How a person react with
the surroundings
we have to understand how the human body works.
There are some parts of the human body that affect a person
ability to perform work. They are :-
1) Vision
2) hearing
3) Touch
4) Smell
5) Taste
They are linked to the Heart, Lungs, the circulation system,
function of the Brain which is linked to all of the above

The Heart

The heart is a strong muscle about the size of a
closed fest, divided into two sides each side has
two chambers. The muscle parts of the heart all
contract at the same time, forcing blood through
the one-way valves and moving it through the
network of arteries. The blood is circulated
through the heart to all parts of the body.

The lungs

The lungs act as a diffuser and two processes occur in

1- energy-giving oxygen, breathed in from outside the
body, diffuses through the thin walls of the lungs and
into the blood, whose red blood cells carry it to other
parts of the body.
2- Waste carbon dioxide, returned to the lungs in the
bloodstream, diffuses through the walls into the air
which is then breathed out.
Vision is one of the five senses of human being. It has
limitation with which an engineer should be familiar.
In engineering good vision is necessary to avoid
missing inspection defects…..etc
In earlier life minor defects in vision can be rectified by
the wearing of spectacles. We must be aware that a
person who in earlier life consider himself to have
perfect vision can in later years develop vision
problems which will occur with ageing.


The eye is like a camera. Both a camera and the eye have
a shutter diaphragm, lens and method of focusing within a
container, in the eye is the eyeball. The eye is moved by
surrounding muscles and the Lacrimal gland produces fluid
(tears ) to moisten the cornea. The eyelids act as protective
shutters for the eyeball.

light passes through the transparent cornea,
where most refraction occurs. The cornea
acts as a focusing device and is responsible
for between 70 and 80% of the total
focusing ability of the eye, before reaching
the lens. In condition of reduced light it
grows larger and smaller when light
increases, thus allowing the correct amount
of light to fall on the retina.

Physiology of Vision
The retina has receptors ( special cells )
which convert light energy into nerve
impulses. The impulses pass to other cells in
the retina and to optic nerve tracts leading
to the brain. The brain has an area known as
the visual cortex where information from
both eyes is interpreted. The minute
multiple nerve endings in the retina are of
two types.

The small central area of the retina, the fovea, is
composed of large number of cones which are so
numerous that they can detect fine details and
also the discrimination of colour, but functioning
poorly in dim light.
There are even more nerve endings in the
periphery of the retina of cylindrical shape and
relatively longer called rods. They have less effect
on visual acuity and not sensitive to colour, they
are used in peripheral vision and for seeing in dim


This is the measure of ability to perceive the
shape and detail of objects. An acuity test is
achieved by means of a standard eye test.
For example a visual acuity of 6/9 means
that the eye at a distance of 6 meters from
the letters can only read the larger letters
intended to be read by a person with normal
eyesight at 9 meters.
Some common defects can be corrected by

Regardless of a person visual acuity, clarity of vision
will be affected by many factors such as :-
a) The amount of light available
b) The size and contours of the object
c) The distance an object is from the viewer
d) The contrast of an object with its
e) The relative motion of a moving object
f) The visibility conditions of the atmosphere,
such as dust, mist …… etc

During inspection engineers must bear
in mind that objects tend to become
less distinct when they move the eyes,
so if an engineer is scanning a large area
for defects, he should use short
movements of the eyes and head,
pausing to search the area directly in
front of his vision, rather than using a
sweeping scan.

Blind Spot
Blind spot occurs where the optic nerves enter the eye.
This may occur whilst carrying inspections in restricted
areas and vision from one eye is impaired, but it does not
occur when both eyes are used.
This can be demonstrated by covering the left eye and
leaving the right eye to focus on the circle shown in the
diagram. Move the paper slowly closer to the face and at
some point the square will disappear. It is fallen on the
blind spot.

Colour Blindness
It is the lack of one or more of the spectral colour
sensations of the eye. The commonest form,
daltonism, consists of an inability to distinguish
between red and green. Even persons of normal sight
may be colour blind to indigo ( differentiate colours )
of the spectrum. For this reason it would be prudent (
careful ) to insist on colour blindness test for all
engineers who are employed on tasks where colour
coordination is vital, and cross connection of systems
would lead to a problem ( electrical system ).

Binocular Vision
Good vision is one of the most essential tools of the
engineer, and two eyes are better than one. The function of
sight is most efficient with the use of both eyes, apart from
the obvious, of still having one eye if the other is impaired.
The use of two eyes ( binocular vision ) is important , in
other ways, particularly depth of perceptions and it is the
function of judging distance, both horizontally and
Some aspects of depth perception involve only one eye, and
others require both eyes. It is of great importance when
viewing objects close at hand to use both eyes.

Monocular Vision
monocular vision means only having or using one eye
to view an object. Because the eyes are connected to
different sides of the brain, the information it receives
is compared and the brain works out the distance, and
if one channel of information is lost the brain can not
perform that function.
People who from childhood have only one functioning
eye , normally develop the ability to compensate for it.
But this is not so easy if an eye is lost at a later age.


The Human Ear

The human ear is a receptor organ constructed to

respond to sound waves in the external environment.
In addition the human ear provides the body with a
sense of orientation and balance.

Functional Anatomy of the Ear
The ear consists of three parts :-
1) The outer ear 2) The middle ear 3) The inner ear
Each part content as follows :-
a) The outer ear consists of the auricle (pinna or ear flap) and the ear
canal which is about 2.5 cm long ending with tympanic membrane
or eardrum.
b) The inner ear contains the eardrum, the auditory ossicles ( sound
conducting bones ) and the eustachian tube
c) The inner ear tube contains the cochlea ( organ of hearing ) and the
balance mechanism

Functional Anatomy of the Ear

The ear flap collect sounds and direct them through

the ear canal to the ear drum. Sounds, which are sort
of a small fluctuations in air pressure cause drum to
For the drum to be sensitive to sound, the air in the
middle ear must be at the same pressure as the air in
the outer ear and this pressure is equalized by the
eustachian tube which connects the ear with the back
of the throat.
When climbing or descending in an aircraft, a “ popping “
sensation is usually felt and this is the result of uneven
pressure being equalized between the outer and middle

The middle ear
The ear drum or “ tympanum “ separate the outer
and middle ear. Connected to the ear drum is a
linkage of three small bones the “ ossicles “,
referred to as ear hammer, stirrup ( move slightly )
and anvil which transmit the vibrations
a) across the middle ear, which is filled with air,
to :-
b) the inner ear which is filled with liquid
The last of the bones connected to another
membrane in the inner ear.

The Inner ear
The vibrating membrane causes the fluid in
cochlea to vibrate. Inside the cochlea there
is a fine membrane covered with tiny hair
like cells.
The movement of these cells will be
dependent on the volume and pitch of the
original sound. The amount and frequency
of displacement is detected by the auditory
nerve which leads directly to the brain
where tiny electrical currents are decoded
into sound patterns.
Effect of Noise
Beside being an annoyance, noise may interfere
with working efficiency, by hindering
communication between workers. It will also
increase the stress level in individuals. It may be
the cause of accidents, by masking the warning
signals, but most importantly, it may damage
workers hearing. A temporary hearing loss, lasting
from a few seconds to a few days, may result from
exposure to intense noise for a short time.
Much more serious, regular exposure to some kind
of noise over a long period may result in the
destruction of certain inner ear structure and loss
of hearing which is permanent and incurable. 103
Loud noise at work can cause irreversible damage. It accelerates the
normal hearing loss which occurs as we grow older ( presbycusis ). Also
can cause other problems such as tinnitus ( to hear continuous noise in
the ears ).
Loud noise at work can cause major problem in verbal communication
which could lead to serious mistakes.
Also an individual continuous exposure to high level of noise will lead
to increase in stress level.
Noise is measured in decibels (db ).
The noise level-loudness is measured on scale from silent ( 0 db )
to 140 db in the noisiest situation.
The risk depends not just on the noise level but for how long people are
exposed to them.

Physical Properties
of Sound
Sound waves have three major properties :-
1) Amplitude 2) Frequency 3) Timber ( quality )
Amplitude of sound waves is responsible for the
degree of loudness and expressed in decibels (db).
Mathematically an increase in sound intensity of 1db
means the loudness has increased by 1.26 times.
The sound frequency is measured in hertz ( cycle/s ).
Dogs can hear up to 50000hz and bats above 100000hz.

The following table shows relation between decibels and sound

Decibels rating Sound

0 hearing threshold

30 Whisper

50-60 Normal conversation

( noise in an office )

90 Shouting

120 Gunshot ( nearby )

Large jet

Employers should take action when noise
reaches 85 db ( called first action level ).
Further action is required if the noise
reaches 90 db ( this the second action ) or
peak action level of 140 db.
As a guide, if normal speech can be heard
clearly from a distance of “2” meters, the
level is to be around 85db. If the same
applies from a distance of “1” meter the level
is around 90db.
High and Low tone Deafness
Sound is generated by vibration of surfaces or by turbulence in
air stream, which sets up rapid pressure variation in the
surrounding air. The rate at which vibration occurs is expressed
in cycles per second or hertz. Human ear is sensitive to
frequencies between about 20hz and 20000hz, being particularly
sensitive in the range 1000hz to 4000hz and progressively less
sensitive at high and lower frequencies.
In the cochlea there are 2300 nerve cells and each cell has 100
sensory hairs. These hairs sense the vibration of ossicles ( bones ).
There are two sizes of hair, long which detect low frequencies
and short to detect high frequencies.
Exposure to high levels of noise may deteriorate the sensory
hairs and damage occurs in the first instance to the shorter hairs
leading to high tone deafness.

Conductive deafness
Any damage to the conducting system ( the
ossicles or ear drum ) will result in a
degradation of hearing. It is possible that
perforations ( small holes ) of the ear drum
will result in scarring ( permanent effect ) of
the tissue thus reducing its ability to vibrate
A blow to the ear may cause damage to the
small bones in the middle ear thus limiting
the transfer of vibration.
( Loss through Aging )

hearing deteriorates with

advancing age. Young children
can hear high pitched noises
outside the range of adults. The
loss of hearing is natural as one
grows older.
Sources of Noise
transmission in aircraft
There are sources in and around the aircraft environment
1) Gas Turbine engines non by-pass. High at front, low at
the back
2) Testing of ram air turbines
3) Riveting especially for the person inside the skin or
4) Any engine or electrical driven equipment
5) Generator test houses
Use of ear protection is a MUST

The Ear and
As well as acting as an organ to detect sounds, the ear is
used to detect angular and linear accelerations.
Within the inner ear are three, semi-circular canals, tubes
filled with liquid and arranged in three planes at 90
degrees to each others.
Within these tubes are fine hairs which are bent as the
liquid in them moves in relation to the walls of the tubes.
The movement of these hairs generate a small electric
current which is passed on to the brain to be detected as
the movement of the head.
The semi-circular canals detect angular movement. linear
acceleration is detected by the otoliths ( auto moving and
bending ) at the base of each of the canals.
The semi-circular canals and the otoliths
together make up the vistibule ( like a room
in a house ) apparatus which help to
maintain spatial ( ability ) orientation and
control other functions.
For example it controls eye movement to
maintain a stable picture on the retina even
when the head is moved.

Testing Pressurization
system in aircraft
The aircraft structure must be complete
and fit for flight. It is recommended
that those personnel participating in a
pressure test who are stationed within
the pressurized area be certified
medically ( free from cold and sinus
troubles ).

A minimum of two should be inside the
pressurized area during any pressure test where
external ground test unit is used as the air source.
When using engines for the air supply a third
person to run the engines is required.

Intercommunication between test personnel

inside the pressurized area and those at the test
unit must be established.

Pressure must be increased and decreased slowly as ear
damage could occur. Personnel will find the greatest
problem as pressure is increased, this is because the
ambient air pressure is greater than that in the inner
ear , so physical effort is required to open the
eustachian tube. If the pressure is increased too rapidly
and the ears can not be equalized rupture of the ear
drum can occur.

Limitation and
Environment Effect
Each individual will have his own limitations on
information processing and decision making.
Within any working group some people will be
more effective in the specified field than others. By
being aware of how to process information one
may be able to reduce the mistakes that can creep
into the process. One must be aware of how
outside influence can effect the process, especially
from the environment.

Environmental factors which could effect the

1) Noise
2) Temperature
3) Light
4) Humidity
5) Pressure of work

Workers or people receive information from the
world around them by their senses, sight, hearing,
touch, smell and taste.

The information from the senses must be

interpreted in order to make decisions and take
action to ensure safety.

Basic Information

The process of thought and decision making is

achieved by electric currents within the brain, but it
is not possible to relate each stage of the processes to
a particular anatomical (study of animal body) structure in
the brain

To represent the mechanism by which
a) Information is received
b) Decisions are taken
c) Responses are selected and executed
We need to build a functional model as shown
Stimuli ( something attract attention)

Receptors & sensory stores

Attention mechanism

Reception Long term Short

memory memory
Central decision maker
Motor programme

The model is important when errors are made. It
determines if the errors result from a failure of
perception, a failure of memory, or as a result of having
correctly interpreted the information and failed to
take the correct action. It also aid to understand other
factors such as stress that may influence the

This model is based on a series of stages that occur
between receiving information and a response being
The stimuli may be in the form of sounds and visual
patterns which are received by the eyes and ears.
Other senses such as taste, smell and touch also
provide inputs to our brain.
Most stimuli are stored for a brief time after the input
has finished.
The information is represented as sounds or shapes in
the stores for hearing and vision.
There is a separate memory store for each sensory

Perception involves the conversion of the sensory
information received into a meaningful structure.

For example a pattern of vibrations ( sound waves ) in

the air becomes recognized as a particular message.

What we receive is not a complete representation of

the information in the sensory store but an immediate
interpretation of it.


Most people on reading the words being shown in the
previous slide will read it incorrectly the first time and
perhaps for a few more times.
The reason is simple, it is the beginning of a well known
phrase ( a bird in a hand is better than ten on a tree ) and having read the
first lines, the reader believes he knows what is coming
next and may automatically pass on to the last word to
confirm his belief, missing out the extra “THE “
It is true that we can “ perceive “ only that which we can
“conceive “ ( “ perceive” become aware of or to see or
notice. “ conceive “ in the mind, think )

In other words we must notice something in the first
instance to be able to think about it, so we could say
the secret of perception is the ability of awareness to
notice things.
It is true that we perceive only a fraction of the
information reaching our senses at any moment,
and therein lies the importance of the attention
mechanism in the model

Some stimuli are efficient for getting one’s attention;
hearing our own name in the background at a noisy
party would get our attention. If you walked into a
hangar and there was a smell of burning it would
immediately alert your attention and probably focus
your mind into the problem.

So as engineers we must have a mental mechanism so

every time we start an inspection etc…. We actually
must be aware.


Human beings do not make mistakes on purpose but
it is the fact that, as human beings that make us
vulnerable ( weak or easy to hurt physically or mentally ). Think of all
the aircraft, all over the world, undergoing
maintenance and all inspections carried out, 999
times out of 1000 there will be no fault to find. Most of
the faults that are not observed may be minor and
hopefully will be picked up on the next inspection.
But if it does not happen and what about larger
problems that go unobserved?

What can we do about it ?
Let us say we are carrying out routine maintenance
inspections every day on a modern aircraft ( 1 to 5 years old
B777 ).
Our expectations of finding a major or minor
structural defect would be very low.

So every day we carry out inspections but we never find any problem,
so due to complacency ( self satisfaction )which we face makes matters
Now imagine working on an old aircraft say Antonove 12 our
expectations of finding structural defects would be some what higher.
Why is this so, should there be a difference?
Of course the answer is no, there should be no difference.


So we must be aware of this factor and we have to build a
trigger method that awakens our alert mechanism.


concentration is essential when we are using our

perception skills

Once information
has been received a
decision must be
made as a response

Short term
Working Memory;-
If one had no short term memory it would be impossible
for instance to understand a short passage or sentence in a
book because as he got to the end of that sentence he
would had forgotten the beginning.
The information is kept in the short term memory by a
process of rehearsal (practice for performance ) or conversation
and acoustic ( the way to hear things ) information is easier to
retain than visual information as it is easier to rehearse
sounds than data in a visual form.

capacity of the short memory is limited. So when
receiving long telephone messages or long or
complicated debriefs one should write it down or he
will miss most of it.
Try this, look at the numbers 976843256793 for 20
seconds and memorize them. Then after 30 seconds try
to write them from memory can you?
It is easy to remember if we put the numbers in groups
such as 976 843 256 793 and so it may be easier to

The information in the working memory will be lost in
10 to 20 seconds unless it is actively rehearsed.
T he items are lost by interference from new
information or even information previously stored.

There is a well known phrase says :-


So if something had got to be remembered then use aid
memories and write it down.
This has a double advantage, you do not forget it and
equally you do not have to worry about forgetting it.

Long term
Long term memory contains information which can be
classified in two types :-
a) Semantic memory
b) Episodic memory
Semantic memory is a memory of meaning. It enables us to
know the meaning of words for example. It is thought that
once information has entered semantic memory, it is never
lost. When one is unable to remember a word it is because
being unable to find where it was stored not because it has
been lost from the store.
Episodic memory is a memory of events in our life, a
particular happening, meeting or incident.
One of the episodic memory is that the information does not remain
static, but is influenced by our expectations of what should happened.
this tendency to remember what should have happened rather than the
actual series of events causes problems to investigators of accidents or
even police investigators.
For example :--
An experienced aircraft engineer witnessing an aircraft accident will have
a much stronger expectation of a likely set of events than an
unspecialized observer, and his recollection ( the ability to remember what
happened ) may be more biassed ( unfair ) to his interpretation of his
observation than the non-experts’ recollection of the events themselves.
two observers having witnessed the same event may recall different
“ facts “ depending on the questions asked.

Loss of Memory

This commonly affects only episodic memory. The

sufferer may be unable to recall events in his life, but if
being instructed to do a certain job in time he will
remember the meanings of words in his semantic

On many tasks, practice and repetition leads to a reduction in the
amount of central processing capacity required and may lead to
execution of the task becoming automatic.
Classic example we may say learning to drive a car in the initial stages
the learner will look at the gear shift lever when wants to change gear,
secondly remember to deselect the clutch, thirdly select the new gear
and finally release the clutch without stalling the car. At later stages he
should be able to change gear as one co-ordinate action.
An experienced driver may travel for miles without noticing when he
has changed gear, but has done so automatically in response to cues
( an event action ), such as engine noise, the changing road gradient or
other traffic.

Human Factors Information
In learning a skill there are three phases ;--
a) The cognitive ( recognizing and understanding )phase in which the learner
thinks consciously about each individual action.
b) the associative phase in which the separate components of the
overall action become integrated.
c) The automatic phase when the total manoeuvre can
be executed smoothly without conscious control.
Those skills are essential in many tasks ( we call it motor programme )
Those programmes are held as behavioural sub-routines within the
long term memory.
Those skills gained and automatically executed have some error slips.
these slips usually occur at the initial stage
of selection rather than in the execution
stage, for example one of the action slips a
pilot selecting flaps instead of lowering the
undercarriage which obviously would have
a catastrophic outcome if this is not
noticed before touch down. These errors
although started without conscious action
or thought, the actions are monitored to
determine whether the correct procedure is
being followed.
A second route to an error skill is that if it is
undertaken in the same environment it may
be elicited (to make, to manage to get ) by the
environment alone. If an engineer has a set
of very routine tasks to perform, lots of pre-
flight checks on aircraft, it is possible he
may sign for certain items convinced he has
checked them, when in fact he has not.
This type of error is called environmental

There is a problem where an engineer may think he can
rely on his skill, because he has done the job many times
before, he has no need to refer to the maintenance
manual or other technical documentation. The error is
that he does not know is there may have been changes in
the procedure since the last time he carried out this
particular job.
This over confidence attitude towards aircraft servicing
contributes significantly every year to maintenance errors.
The only way to ensure quality and completeness of work
is to ensure work is carried out i.a.w the relative technical
documents. Any deviation away from documents can not
ensure quality and completeness of work, and the work is
not fit for its intended purpose.
Short term memory

Echoic memory Iconic memory

Things that you hear Things that you see
last for about last for about
2 to 8 seconds 0.5 to 1 second
Working memory
Can only remember 7 unrelated items
last for about 10 to 20 seconds

Long term memory

Semantic memory Episodic memory
Memory of meanings Memory of events
is never lost can be lost with amnesia
Motor programme

Effect of ageing
and illness
A part of the obvious implications of being ill at work
there will be a marked decline in a person’s ability to
perceive and react correctly in certain situations.
It may be commendable ( admiration ) for individuals to
battle on at work when they are feeling ill under the
weather, but what is happening to their decision
making capability. It is impossible and impractical to
send every one who has the smallest head cold
however, we must be aware of the situation and
monitor their performance.


Sleep is essential to human being. During a sleep period
the body is not only recuperating ( to get better ) from the
physical activity of the day but it is also carrying out
essential organization of the mental process. The amount
of sleep varies according to age, amount of physical and
mental energy used prior to sleep and individual
differences. Sleep exhibits ( form of behaviour ) particular cycles
during each sleep period, varying from light dozing to very
deep sleep, with intervals of a unique type of sleep in which
vivid dreams occur. The duration of sleep and its quality
depends to a large extent on the internal body rhythms,
and it is well to consider these rhythms before looking at
sleep itself.

Aircraft Engineer
Attitude to sleep

Engineers must not regard sleep as

merely a mechanism for recuperation
from the previous day’s activity. It is a
fundamental importance that aircrew’s
attitude towards sleep is pro-active and
that sleep is actively planned in order
that shift patterns are conducted at
maximum physical and mental
efficiency. *
Circadian Rhythms
The most common rhythms exhibited have periodicities of
about 24 hours and are known as Circadian rhythms (
relating to a period of 24 hrs ). These rhythms are seen as
measurable and regular daily fluctuations, such as :--
a) Body temperature
b) Blood pressure
c) Heart rate
d) Sensory acuity
e) Adrenal gland ( small organ above the kidneys that produce
some sort of chemical product that makes the heart
beat faster and give more energy when being
frightened, excited or angry )
f) Brain neuro-transmission level ( relating nervous system,
sort of cell that sends messages to the brain )

Body Temperature *

There is a direct relationship between the body

temperature and sleep cycle. At the time of lowest
body temperature we find it hardest to stay awake.
One will start to feel sleepy at a time when the
temperature is falling and be at most wide awake when
the temperature is rising.
This relationship explains the difficulty one may have
of sleeping well for a few days after time zone
crossings. This is one of the symptoms of “jet-lag “.

Measurement and
phases of sleep
Laboratory experiments have revealed a great deal about the various
sleep phases. Volunteers have undergone a number of measurements
and observations whilst they are asleep.
The devices used include :--
a) Electroencephalogram (EEG )- to record the electrical activity of
the brain
b) Electrooculogram ( EOG) -to measure eye movement within
the eye socket
c) Electromyogram (EMG)- to measure muscle tension or

Sleep stages are classified into four stages


The sleeper is in a very light sleep. It is a transitional

phase between waking and sleeping; if woken at this
stage the volunteer may claim that he has not even
been asleep.
In early sleep we pass through about “10” minutes of
stage “1” before moving to the deeper stage “2”.

Stage “2”

In early sleep we spend about “20” minutes in stage “2”

before moving on to the deeper stage “3” and “4”.
About “50%” of normal sleep is spent in stage “2”

Stages “3” and “4”
During these stages
a) The brain is semi-active emitting long slow
waves measured by EEG tracings and thus
referred to as “ slow waves” or Orthodox sleep.
b) The eyes are still behind the eyelids
c) The muscles are relaxed
d) choking or Crushing dreams.

Function of slow wave sleep

Slow wave sleep refreshes the body and is necessary

for tissue restoration. After strenuous (require a lot of effort)
physical activity the body will require more slow wave

Rapid Eye movement ( REM )

superimposed on the above four stages is REM ( referred to as

Paradoxial sleep ) which is quite different to orthodox sleep. In this
phase :--
a) The brain is active and the EEG trace is similar to that of an
individual who is fully awake whilst the other measurements show the
person to be asleep.
b) Rapid eye movement behind the eyelids are detected
c) Muscles twitch ( make a sudden quick movement )
d) Complex, bizarre ( strange and difficult to explain ) and
emotionally-coloured dreams take place

Function of REM sleep

REM refreshes the brain. It strengthens and organizes

the memory. After a period of learning new tasks or
procedures REM sleep will increase.

Characteristics of Orthodox
and Paradoxical sleep
Here some characteristics of both types :--
Characteristic Orthodox sleep Paradoxical
EEG (brain waves) Large slow waves High frequency
EOG (eyes) Still Rapid eye movement
EMG ( throat ) Tensed muscles Relaxed muscles
ECG ( heart ) Regular Irregular
Dreaming Normally no recall Recall
Sleep walking Yes No
Body movement Less frequent More frequent
Stomach Acids Steady Increase

Age and Sleep
Individuals differ in the amount of sleep they require. In
survey of one million people the most frequently reported
sleep duration was between “8” and “9” hours. Some people
seem able to do with much less sleep and can manage quite
well on “3” to “4” hours per night.
Ageing brings major changes in sleep requirement. New
born babies may sleep for up to “23” hours per day and even
as they grow older will require much more sleep than
adults. As people get older they sleep less but at the same
time become less flexible . Shift work becomes more
difficult with age as it is much harder to re-programe the
body clock. Women tend to sleep longer than men but
report more sleep problems.


A nap is a short period of sleep taken at any hour.

Those who habitually take naps appear to gain more
benefit than non-habitual nappers, who sometimes
perform at a reduced level for some time after
awakening from the nap.


Microsleeps are a very short periods of sleep lasting

from a fraction of a second to two to three seconds.
Although their existence can be confirmed by EEG
readings, the individual may be unaware of their
occurrence which makes them particularly dangerous.
They occur most often in conditions of fatigue but are
of no assistance in reducing sleepness.

Shift work
Sleep loss or partial sleep is an occupational hazard of
commercial aviation. There will be times when the
engineer has to work when he would rather be asleep,
and other times when he has to sleep when he would
rather be awake. At these times sleep problems may be
aggravated by circadian rhythms.
The sleep awake cycle affects readiness for sleep, and
the timing of sleep relative to the body cycle of
temperature is critical in determining the duration of

Planning shift work sleep

Assume one engineer is rostered for night duty. The

engineer will attempt to get some sleep during the
afternoon prior to reporting for duty. However, it will
be difficult to get any satisfactory sleep due to having a
good sleep achieved the night before.
there are two options in this case :----

first one could go to bed early the previous night and
set the alarm for an early call so that by the afternoon
the body will be approaching sleep deficit and be
ready for sleep.
The second alternate would be to go to bed late the
previous night, sleep late, relax in the afternoon and
still have a good sleep credit for the night duty. Both
solutions have limitation, in the first case, having
gone to bed in the afternoon, sleep may be
impossible due to outside noise, daylight entering the
room or, if in a hotel, construction work or domestic
work in the corridors, in which case one may go on
duty with an even greater sleep deficit.

Time Zone Crossing

Crossing time zones is a way of life for long-haul aircrew,

and time zone shifts can lead to cumulative sleep
deprivation (situation of prevention ). Although such sleep
deficits can build up, it is unlikely to go to extreme levels as
the body will sleep when it needs to. Engineers that
accompany or travel to fix unserviceable aircraft over long
distance have constantly to adjust and re-adjust their
circadian rhythms, and it is possible that continual
disruption may incur some health penalties, particularly
associated with stomach and bowel disorders. The
disturbance to the normal body functions is commonly
known as Jet Lag or Circadian Disrhythmia.

Circadian Disrhythmia
The internal body rhythms become of great
significance in the modern age of rapid air travel. This
leads to a large discrepancy between the local time at
destination and the body clock of the traveler.
For example it may be local noon for the traveler
arriving in Los Angeles, but his body clock will still be
on a UK time 20:00hrs., possibly leading to an internal
conflict. After a sleep the internal body clock will
indicate a time to wake up when the local time is 01:00

These factors are of great significance to the engineer
who may have to sleep during local day hours or
maintain aircraft at a time when his body clock is
indicating a time for sleep. In addition to this, normal
rhythms of the alimentary canal ( the passage along which
food passes during digestion ) and urinary system can cause
disruption to sleep in the new time zone


The shifting of the body clock will help to re-synchronize to

the new local time but it is a slow process, averaging a shift
of about 90 minutes for each day in the new time zone. A
shift of 9 hours in local time, for example, on a flight direct
from London to Los Angeles will require about 6 days for
the body to adjust to the local time. The engineer may only
have 2 or 3 days before return to London and when he does
return his body clock is now out of synchronization again.
Another factor to be considered is that body systems shift
their phase at different rates, so while they are shifting, they
are no only out-of-phase with the local time, but out-of-
phase with each other.

Effect of direction on recovery
East or West

The effect of Jet Lag and its recovery will also be dependant on the direction of
travel. Two examples illustrate this phenomena.

a) Travelling Westwards ( London- New York )

New York is 5 hours behind London so noon occurs 5 hours later. This
means that an aircrew will experience a 29 hour day. However, our free
running body clock is 25 hours which means that the crew will suffer from
4 hour jet lag.
b) Travelling Eastwards ( New York- London )
London is 5 hours ahead of New York so noon occurs 5 hours earlier. This
means that an aircrew will experience a 19 hours day. However, our free-
running body clock is 25 hours which means that the crew will suffer from 6
hours jet lag.

Sleep Hygiene
If your body needs sleep it will sleep under almost any condition. If one is
attempting to sleep whilst still in sleep credit or at a time of low circadian
sleepiness then :--
a) avoid drinks containing caffeine near bed
time ( coffee, tea, cola, …)
b) Avoid napping during the day
c) Make sure the room and bed are comfortable,
with any daylight excluded, air conditioning
working, and ensure insects are not able to enter
the room
d) Avoid excessive mental stimulation, emotional stress
e) A warm milky drink, light reading or simple progressive relaxation
technique will help to promote sleep.
f) Avoid alcohol and heavy meals.


Alcohol is widely used by people as an aid to sleep. It is

however a non-selective central nervous depressant. It
may induce sleep but the sleep pattern will not be
normal as REM sleep will be reduced and early waking
is likely.


An inability to stop falling sleep even when in sleep

credit. Specialists believe that this is associated with
the inability of the brain to distinguish between
wakefulness and REM sleep.


A cessation of breathing whilst sleep. It is quite

common and the subject will normally either wake up
or restart breathing after a short time.
It becomes a more serious problem when the breathing
stoppage lasts for up to a minute and the frequency of
stoppage increases. The frequent awakenings will
disturb the normal sleep pattern and the individual
may experience excessive daytime sleepiness. Other
clinical problems may be involved and medical advice
should be thought.

( Somnambulism )

This condition, as well as talking in one’s sleep, is more

common in childhood, but does occur later in life. It
may happen more frequently in those operating
irregular hours or those under some stress. The
condition should not cause difficulty in healthy adults
unless the sleep walker is involved in an accident
whilst away from his bed.

This is the term for difficulty in sleeping and is divided
into :---
a) Clinical Insomnia
This describes the condition when a person has difficulty in sleeping
under normal, regular conditions in phase with the body rhythms. In other
words, an inability to sleep when the body’s systems are calling for sleep.
Clinical Insomnia is normally a symptom. Treatment with sleeping drugs is
inappropriate unless treatment for underlying cause is also undertaken.
b) Situational Insomnia
Where there is an inability to sleep due to disrupted work/rest pattern,
or circadian disrhythmia. This often occurs when one is required to sleep
but the brain and body are not in the sleeping phase. This condition is the
one most frequently reported by aircrew.

Drugs and sleep
People’s tolerance to sleep disturbance varies and some individuals may
require the assistance of drugs to obtain sleep or to stay awake. The
commonest drug used to delay sleepiness is caffeine, contained in
coffee or tea, and this will assist the user to stay awake.
Wide publicity has been given to Melatonin as a cure of Jet Lag.
Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines ( Valium, Mogadon, Librium, and
Normison) must rigorously avoided.
Barbiturates are not only addictive but fatal if taken in overdose.
Contrary to common belief, Benzodiazepines can be addictive and all
have an adverse effect on performance – especially if taken with
alcohol. There is no place in aviation for such drugs except under the
strict supervision of an Aviation Medical Specialist.


Fatigue is deep tiredness and similar to stress and can
be caused by :---
a) A lack of restful sleep
b) A lack of physical or mental fitness
c) Excessive physical or mental stress and anxiety
d) Desychronization of the body cycles ( Jet Lag )

Fatigue is insidious ( dangerous ). An engineer suffering

from fatigue can be unaware of his/her condition for a
long time until a crisis forces realization.

Even if aware that fatigue is a problem, an engineer
will be hesitant to admit the fact openly. It appears
to be a kin ( similar to ) to an admission that he/she is
not up to the job. It is critical to be able to
recognize the symptoms of fatigue both in
yourself, and just as importantly, in other
members of your team.
Fatigue can be sub-divided into short and long-
term (chronic ) fatigue.

Short-term fatigue

This type of fatigue is a kin to tiredness. It is usually

due to a lack of sleep, hard physical or mental exertion
( great physical or mental effort ), shift scheduling, a long duty
period, lack of food or jet lag. Short-term fatigue is
easily recognized and remedied by a short break and
sufficient rest.

Long-term (chronic ) fatigue

This type of fatigue is much more difficult to recognize

and admit. It can come from a number of different
causes which may include a lack of physical or mental
fitness, a stressful marriage coupled with problems at
work, financial worries and a high workload.

Anyone who suspects of suffering from chronic fatigue

should seek medical advice.

Symptoms of fatigue
Symptoms of fatigue can be :---

a) Lack of awareness
b) Diminished motor skill
c) Obvious tiredness
d) Diminished vision
e) Increased reaction time
f) Short-term memory problems
g) Channeled concentration

h) Easily distracted
i ) Difficulty with intricate ( complicated and difficult to understand )
j ) Increased mistakes
k) High probability to miss defects
l ) Reversion to old habits
m) Decrease in communication

Delaying the onset fatigue
Some of the actions that may be considered to avoid
fatigue are :---
a) Accept that fatigue is a potential problem
b) Plan sleep strategies pro-activity ( plan sleep ahead of the next
day’s activities )
c) Use exercise as part of the relaxation period and ensure you are fit.
d) Avoid alcohol
e) Eat a regular and balanced diet
f) Have your emotional and psychological life under control
g) Reduce environmental stress factors
h) Ensure the correct diet for the time of the day

Vigilance and Hypovigilance

State of vigilance

The state of vigilance is the degree of activation of the

central nervous system. This can vary from deep sleep to
extreme alertness and is controlled by the circadian cycle.
A vigilant man is an alert man and so, in normal
circumstances, as workload increases so does vigilance.

This occurs when sleep patterns begin to show on an
EEG during activity. It is akin to microsleep which can
occur during periods of :----
a) Monotony ( a bored feeling due to nothing different happens )
b) Reduction of workload
c) During simple or repetitive tasks
d) Constant and monotonous noise

e) Low lighting
f) High temperature
g) Isolation
h) Sleep debit
i) Fatigue

It can also occur shortly after a meal

Forestalling Hypovigilance in
Engineering working environment
It is not possible to eliminate hypovigilance during
abnormal shift pattern, and indeed, there is a theory
that hypovigilance helps to control energy
consumption. Precautions should include :---
a) Ensure that you have sufficient sleep credit
b) Be aware of physical danger signs which may
include :--
c) Drowsiness, head dropping forward and a vague
but persistent sensation of discomfort causing one
to constantly shifts his sitting position.

d) Slower sensory perception ( having to look at maintenance
manuals …etc for longer periods than usual before digest the information )

e) Preoccupation with a problem completely outside

to the current situation
f) moodiness and reluctance to talk
g) Maintain social contact with the rest of the team
h) Vigilance decreases with lack of stimuli so keep
mentally and physically active.

In fact there is no absolute amount of sleep that must

be achieved. One should sleep as much as he needs.

Factors Affecting


One of the major contributing factors to aircraft
accidents and incidents, is the way human beings react
and respond to certain situations.
We are all aware of the pressure of modern day life,
with the advancement of technology and constant
need to achieve better results, plus the world we live in
is constantly providing us with new challenges.
But have “we changed” and do we understand how to
cope in this fluctuating environment.

Stress is our body’s everyday reaction to events in
our lives.
Stress is broken down into two types Acute or
Due to stress internally one’s blood pressure rises,
breathing rate increases, muscles tense, glands
secrete adrenalin into the blood stream and the
digestion ceases.
If stress is repeated often enough it will lead to
headaches, ulcers ( a sore area on the inside of an organ in the body),
heart attacks in the short time.
The amount of stress which we experience
influences both the way we feel and our ability
to perform tasks.
Long-term overstress can lead to physical and
mental illness with their potential
consequences of absence from work and
personal suffering, as well as lessened
effectiveness in the process.

Cause of stress

* Lack of confidence * Lack of fitness physically and mentally

* Pressure * Not enough time * Problems at home
* Ill health * Tired * Limited resources
* Deadlines too tight *Money worries
* Difficulties with higher managers * Difficulties with colleagues
* After effect of alcohol * Change to work practices
* Climate, noise, heat etc .. etc….

Stress prevention
Stress management

Good management technique can prevent stress. One

of the simplest ways of preventing stress is getting your
priorities right. This means establishing the
importance of the main tasks you need to perform
during your working day. Writing a list of work that
needs to be addressed and annotating their order of
importance is a good way of relieving stress.

One of the major problems associated with
stress, is when we are faced with a problem we
have never seen before. Immediately our minds
goes into over-ride, with such thoughts as :---
I do not understand…
Can I do it….
What will happen if I do not do it….
What are the risk involved….
What are the chances of making mistakes…..

When one is faced with such situation he should try
Take a deep breath, in fact take a lot of deep breaths,
one of the problems associated with stress is lack
of oxygen, and try to fully understand the situation
fully and the only way to do this is by
reading/listening asking questions and getting a
clear picture.

Maintenance Errors
Studies have shown the maintenance errors are caused to a
large extent by the following “12” factors ( called Dirty
Dozen ).
1- Lack of teamwork 2- Lack of assertiveness ( ability to accept )
3- Complacency 4- Distraction 5- Pressure
6- Lack of resources 7- Lack of knowledge
8- Lack of awareness 9- Norms ( laziness )
10- Stress 11- Fatigue
12- Lack of communication

Knowledge, Training
and Experience
In time of growing and fast changing technologies
the aeroplane systems become more complicated.
The documents are designed in a detailed way to
ensure the correct performance of the work.
If one do not understand the correlations ( relationship
between two or more things ) there is the danger of
carelessness. One would say :-
Why should I bother to understand that ?
It tells me what to do and that is it !

a) Be sure you understand what you are doing

b) Be up to date

c) Ask for an explanation of the technical


It means attention is turned in another direction,
mental or emotional confusion.
If one’s attention is diverted when performing a critical
job, this can cause a dangerous situation,
Diversion of attention is the main reason a nut not
being tightened or a control cable not being secured.
There are good chances for a serious blunder ( make a careless
or embarrassing mistake ), especially when one is tired or subject

to stress.

a) whenever you are performing a critical job, you should
finish it before you allow his attention to turn to
something else.
b) If you are addressed by somebody, you should asked
him to be patient and wait until you finished
whatever you are doing.
c) Before you sign off a job, you should read again what
you are going to sign.
d) If you are not completely sure that you have
performed all steps, you should check again.

e) Do not say to yourself :- I guess I did it all right–
I have always done it all right so far.
f ) Go back at least three steps
g) When you are under pressure and started to make
mistakes, stop and check the situation, can you
finish the job safely, if not ask yourself ……???????
h) Did I clearly explain my objection in a rational way?
What is the best way to proceed ?
What is the worst that can happen to me ?
Has a similar situation occurred before and is it
possible to improve on that ?
i) Ask for more time or assistant


All equipment and aid that is available to perform work. It includes
tools, information and work procedures.
Insufficient equipment ( missing equipment, wrong or faulty tools )
cause many accidents.
If a special tools are prescribed for a job you must use them. There are
no exception . Thus :-
use the proper and prescribed tools for the work you are doing.
+ Do not try to finish a job without help
+ Use all the resources that available to you
+ Do not hesitate to ask others for support
+ You are responsible for your work

Norms are unwritten and often unspoken rules
concerning work procedures.
In every company and department we have rules and
regulations that have never been put into words.
Everybody knows about, though hardly anybody would
be in a position to clearly describe them.

Such rules might prove either advantageous for
yourself or turn out to be a disadvantage.
If it has become a habit to work in the plane
without safety nets when the doors are open it
could be extremely bad for you. When installing
carpets you could fall through the door even if a
safety barrier has been installed.

On the other hand, if it has become a habit for
everyone to try and improve the work
procedures and if these attempts are
welcomed by colleagues and the management,
it will certainly help everybody.

Try to make a list of unwritten rules that apply

to your department.

Is it physical or psychological
If you are subjected to stress you are probably tired,
exhausted, depressed or tense.
Stress is not always negative. We need a certain
amount of stress to get going. But there are problems if
there is too much of it.
Most people understand stress as something
psychological (mental problems ). Stress is rather a
physical problem.

Response to stress

Whenever a person is subjected to a stimulus that

creates stress ( a stressor ) the brain will make a quick
decision ! Is this stressor helpful or harmful ? Then
the brain orders the body to react. This response to
stress is always the same. It varies in power and
duration, depending the stressor and the
psychological and physical conditions.

The response to stress causes the following
Higher production of adrenaline
Increased pulse
Increase blood pressure
Blood is withdrawn from hands and feet
Respiration becomes faster and the air is not deeply
The senses are sharpened
Muscles are tensed

These changes have a strong influence in the
brain and if the physical changes are sufficiently
strong the brain will arrive at an increased
mental readiness.
This means
Acceleration of the activities of the brain
Improvement in the quality of immediate decisions
Speeding up decision making
Improvement of memory
Improved alertness

Positive effect
of stress
Stress is helpful in many situations. Because visual
perception, strengthening of muscles and better
powers of reaction, stress can enable us to mobilize all
our resources, for instance in sports, during
examinations or when giving a lecture.
The crucial ( important, has an effect on the result ) requirement
necessary to use stress in a positive way, is the
possibility to act in this situation, thus wearing out
stress instead of letting it stay in your body.

Negative results

If there is no possibility to act and the stress remains in

our bodies we will experience the negative results of
stress. This is also the case, if the response to stress is
too time consuming or too violent. Basically three
areas are impaired.

1- Deterioration of health

+ Diseases of heart, the blood circulation and the

blood vessels
+ Ulcers
+ Skin diseases
+ Infection diseases
+ Allergic reactions

2- Reduced performance

+ Reduced ability to concentrate on something

+ Increased forgetfulness
+ Rapid exhaustion

3- Inappropriate behaviour
+ Irritation
+ Unhealthy eating, drinking and smoking habits
+ Increasing amount of mistakes
+ Lack of flexibility

Ways to solve problems

Solve the problem now. Do not hope for it to go away.

Describe the problem. Check whether you really know what the problem
is ?. What caused the problem ?

Try to distinguish between problem and persons.

Attack the problem not the persons

Try to distinguish between your emotions and the problem.

Try to observe the facts in a matter in fact way

Determine the result you are aiming for

Make a list with possible solutions. Do not decide before the list has
been completed

Consider new solutions. The procedure that ( has always been used ) is not
necessarily the best

Improvement of communication
in stress situations
1) Listening
a) Listen closely. Do not judge
b) Concentrate. Pay attention to the words and
c) Listen actively. Repeat the information to the
d) Thank the persons you were communicating with
for letting you be part of their thoughts

2) Speaking
a) Use “I” statement. This way you visibly take
responsibility for what you say.
b) Be self confident. Express your thoughts and
feelings clearly.
c) Do not allow any doubt about the purpose of
your words
d) Ask for feed back. Make sure you have been
clearly understood.

But this in consideration

We hear only half of what we are told, understand only half of what we hear,
believe only half of what we understand, and remember only half of what we

3) Flexibility
a) Be open minded. Do not have inhibitions
concerning new thoughts and ideas. This will
make it easier for you to understand the people
you are taking to.
b) Remember that usually there is more than one
way to solve a problem. Ask others to come up
with new ideas.
c) Try to see things through the eyes of your
colleagues from time to time. Try to understand
their point of view.


Exhaustion because of work or other exertions.

Nervous weariness. Temporary inability to be active.
There are two types of exhaustion :-
Temporary exhaustion : as a result of intellectual strain
Chronic exhaustion : that has been building up over a
longer period of time.


The symptoms are pretty similar with every person.

a) Reduced Awareness
+ Basic work procedures are overlooked
+ The feeling that too much is expected
+ Reduced perception
+ Increasing carelessness

b) Impaired memory
+ Activities linked to the job are overlooked
+ Knowledge generally have is not on call
+ Slip into habitual patterns

c) Spirit go down
+ Lack of interest in communication
+ Jobs with minor priority are not performed
+ Distraction because of indisposition
+ Irritations
+ Developing an “ I do not give a damn..” attitude

Reasons for fatigue

Reasons for fatigue can vary. The following factors can

accelerate fatigue :-
# long working hours
# Stress
# Changes in temperature
# Noise
# Vibration shock
# Certain kinds of illumination
# Shift work
# Lack of sleep
# Nutrition
# Physical condition
Shift work
Shift work is defined by changing working hours. In
aircraft maintenance a lot of work is performed
between midnight and 5 A.M in order to have the
airplanes in operable condition in the mornings. Every
biological organism ( with exception of some bacteria and viruses )
has got an inner clock. This clock controls procedures
like intake of food, sleep. Activity, body temperature
etc… This clock is set according to lightness and
darkness. Thus our physical functions are controlled
by the light.

The body temperature gives us information about our
inner clock. 10 PM

24:00 06:oo 12:00 18:00 24:00
When the temperature rises ( within normal range)
we are awake and when temperature drops we need
sleep and relaxation. This is why sleep that starts at
6 A<M is less effective than sleep starting at 10 P.M

Average fitness in correlation
to the time of day

Night shift Early shift Middle shift

Physiological 140
Efficiency (%)






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