INDUSTRY ASSESSMENT OF HUMAN FACTORS IN AVIATION MAINTENANCE
AND INSPECTION RESEARCH PROGRAM
An Assessment of Industry Awareness and Use of the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Aviation Medicine
Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance and Inspection Research and Development Program from 1989 through 1998
William B. Johnson, Ph.D. Galaxy Scientific Corporation
Jean Watson Office of Aviation Medicine
Federal Aviation Administration
Ten years ago the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Aviation Medicine embarked on a research and development program dedicated to human factors in aviation maintenance and inspection. Since 1989 FAA has invested over $12M in maintenance and inspection-related human factors research. The Office of Aviation Medicine has nearly lost count of the number of software products, technical publications, and public presentations delivered by the research team. With over 400 technical reports (see www.hfskyway.com) and over 15 significant software deliverables, it is time to assess the usefulness of the outcomes of the research. This report looks beyond the long list of research outcomes to assess the impact of the research in industry.
In cooperation with the US Air Transport Association (ATA), the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), and the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) of the UK, the FAA researchers circulated a questionnaire regarding human factors in maintenance and inspection (see Appendix 1). The international industry sample of 122 respondents represented all aspects of the aviation maintenance industry. The results, described herein, show a very active interest in maintenance human factors. Most participants were familiar with the FAA research program and used many of the research by-products. The Research and Development (R&D) program received overall high marks.
1.1 Goals of the Assessment The primary goal of the assessment is to determine the extent to which the research program has influenced human factors in aviation maintenance environments. The survey attempts to assess the current status of human factors in airline maintenance environments. The survey also attempts to achieve
a backward glance at the evolution of maintenance human factors, within the industry, since 1988. The assessment also has the goal of identifying the general category and specific projects perceived to be most useful. Finally, the assessment attempts to identify perceived needs that can be met by the FAA R&D program in the future.
This report will show that the assessment did accomplish these goals. In fact, many qualitative measures indicate that the FAA Office of Aviation Medicine research program is the very nucleus of human factors information for the aviation maintenance industry.
1.2 Assessment Instrument A straightforward questionnaire was used to gather information from the industry. This method was selected for many reasons. First, the questionnaire would ensure standardization...