Human Factors in Aviation Safety: Keynote speakers

Health – the forgotten human factor in aviation?

Sian Blanchard, EasyJet

Abstract: The airline is pursuing an integrated approach to health, wellbeing and human performance to support our people at all stages throughout their working career and to develop initiatives to ensure optimal health, safety and operational performance.

Accidents such as Germanwings 9525 and potentially MH370 have drawn attention to the psychological wellbeing of aircrew and have raised fundamental questions about an area that may not have received adequate oversight in aviation safety management systems. Recognising the contribution of individual wellbeing to safety represents a coherent next step in the increasing sophistication of our safety management system which has been through stages of asset management, crew resource management, fatigue risk management, organisational and human factors and now health and wellbeing.

This business case proposes the establishment of a new unit within the airline to provide a coordinated approach to health, wellbeing and human performance. This approach responds to: operational experience and meets senior management expectations; provides a vehicle for us to satisfy regulations and go further to achieve wider business objectives; and, aligns with a growing recognition in society about the importance of honest discussion of personal difficulties and provision of timely interventions in fostering resilient individuals and organisations.

Is adaptive automation still on the horizon?

Kathy Abbott, Federal Aviation Authority

Is Risk Management Science working?

Douglas Mellor, Fatigue Risk Management Science Ltd


Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) in aviation has been promoted as a method of managing aircrew fatigue for some considerable time. ICAO has assisted in this endeavour by publishing their first ever guidance on the subject in 2012, co-authored by IATA and IFALPA. In some parts of the world, regulations have been put in place as a measure to assist airlines to focus on the fatigue hazard.

But, is FRMS working?

This presentation will explore the indicators that may tell if the rewards of introducing an FRMS are being achieved and indeed, if any of the stakeholders are enjoying a benefit.

Biography: Douglas obtained his Batchelor’s degree in UK from Newcastle upon Tyne and supplemented it with an MBA from the University of Glasgow in 1980. After a period working electronic systems design and business management roles (predominently business turnaround and post-acquisition merger challenges) within high technology enterprises, he joined the UK research organisation QinetiQ limited in 2001. He found the human factors group to be particularly fascinating and worked with the scientists to develop commercial markets for their research competences and many innovations. Focusing on sleep and fatigue, in 2008 he founded the FRMS Forum which has grown to be the global premier venue for exchanging experiences in adopting FRMS. In 2010 he created FRMSc Ltd with QinetiQ colleague and academic, Dr Barbara Stone, to research, provide tools and assist the aviation industry and others with their challenges to understand how to identify, measure and manage fatigue hazards.

The future of remote towers

Per Ahl, Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions

Abstract: Saab and LFV was first in the world to get an operational approved Remote Tower system, already in 2015. Now three airports are operated from the same Remote Tower Centre and more than 15000 operational hrs can be logged. Before going live numerous Human Factor validations and test was conducted since the start 2006. Per Ahl will present some of the experiences and findings through the years, as well give an outlook of possibilities which are around the corner.

Biography: Per’s background is as a mechanical engineer and commercial pilot flying for Scandinavian Airlines (DC9 and B737NG), with a wide range of experience with Airlines from Station Handling to Flight Operations. Per has been involved in Safety and R & D programmes since early 1990 both in Europe and on the Global arena and been a speaker at numerous international events the last 25 years. Per joined Saab in 2008 as Head of Marketing and Sales ATM and worked with Remote Tower since then. Per has been a part of several national and international acquisitions and integrations over the years, which has given Per a lot of experience and knowledge to work in and manage multi-culture organisations.

The Airbus A320 family fan cowl door safety modification: a human factors scenario analysis

Kyriakos Kourousis, University of Limerick

Abstract: Several Airbus A320 family engine fan cowl door losses have occurred in the past due to uninspected unlocked situations that have occurred in service. This issue has been known to the industry for almost 18 years, however it has not been addressed adequately by the aircraft manufacturers and the various operators and regulating authorities. Airbus, in an attempt to address the issue permanently, proceeded to redesign the FCD locking arrangement and control philosophy, which were subsequently adopted by the European Aviation Safety Agency, in 2015 and 2016, as Airworthiness Directives. However, as part of the EASA consultation process, a number of major operators (United Airlines, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air Canada) have expressed reservations on the effectiveness of the Airbus redesign, on the basis of human factors issues, potential financial impact on operations and implementation cost. This brief paper intends to examine and discuss in a systematic way the possible operational and safety implications that the fan cowl doors modification can have in aircraft maintenance practice. It identifies issues in relation to this modification, introduced by Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency, which may prove problematic from the point of view of safety effectiveness and disruption of operations. An array of error-prone scenarios are presented and analysed under the prism of human factors in a non-exhaustive qualitative scenario analysis. A number of accident prevention solutions are proposed for each scenario examined, in view of the acceptance and implementation of this modification by operators.

Biography: Kyriakos is a tenured Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick, currently holding the position of Programme Director of the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Programmes in Aircraft Maintenance & Airworthiness Engineering. Dr Kourousis has 17 years of professional and research experience in the fields of aircraft maintenance and airworthiness engineering, aviation safety, technical/logistics support and metal plasticity, both as an Aeronautical Engineer Officer in the Hellenic Air Force (Major res.) and a University Faculty in Ireland and Australia. He has a broad educational experience in teaching and student supervision at the University of Limerick, RMIT University and aviation and engineering institutions in Greece. To date, he has authored a total of 90 scholarly journal papers, conference papers and technical and engineering reports. Dr Kourousis is a Chartered Engineer, registered with the UK Engineering Council, and a Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.