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The human operator, the least reliable element of an aerodyne, but the most essential...!
Frank Caron (1991)

Last update:
26 September 2016

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vocational training

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Frank's LinkedIn page

Human Factors

Human Factors still the current challenge of the aviation industry

Following the numerous unexplainable or non-technical accidents during the 70s the aviation industry reacted with a new solution: the CRM training course (for Cockpit Resources Management).
This CRM training opened a new era with a singular approach and new vocabulary regarding safety, through the new light of human (or operator) behavior..

Consequently, it introduced a lot of changes in culture, spirit, behavior, management, training, etc.

But the non-technical accidents did not cease during the 80s. The CRM concept did receive a new acronym: Crew Resources Management. Instead of the sole cockpit crew, CRM was expanding to cabin crew.

Because the still same accidents in the 90s, the concept did evolved to Company Resources Management, including this time the company departments involved in operations. The fact is a lot of airlines still have to implement this change.

During this same decade have appeared a certain infatuation for human factors as the industry was discovering something new. In order to give more sense to this, two other important aviation organisations moved to develop their own CRM:

  1. The Air Traffic Control with the TRM (Traffic Resources Management),
  2. The maintenance organisations with the MRM (Maintenance Resources Management).

Today these three trainings (CRM, TRM, MRM) are required by the regulatory authorities in certain countries that invest in the aviation safety.

Nevertheless, a lot of countries are still far to implement these trainings as a standard in their aviation industry.

Despite these big forward changes, more has still to be done, at least for the following reasons:

  1. We still have to learn in this area. Nothing is definitely graved especially regarding safety and human behavior
  2. The human factors are still the common point between the nowadays accidents and those during the 70's.
  3. The ONLY reason for these mishaps today is because the human being is at every level of any system, at every stage of every process.

Therefore, a full efficient CRM is far to be reached... The current (aviation) industry appears to be a highly complex system, involving different organisations (manufacturer, state authorities, airline, maintenance, airport, ATC, numerous other service providers as cleaning, fueller, etc.). If it is essential every organisation develop its own CRM training, these organisations must also work together inside this highly complex system. And here, everything has to be done.

Human Factors are not a complementary science but the human behavior frame for the daily operations.

Now bear in mind that CRM is nothing more than the practical aspects of The Human Factors. Since the early CRM and its vocabulary were focused on behavior, there is no doubt the Human Factors era started in the 70's...

The approach we have about the Human Factors must be expanded in order to obtain a deeper and closer understanding of the industry mishaps.

This new approach must be offered to the protagonists, mainly through education and training courses.

Therefore the objective of this page is to suggest different directions to approach safety in a different but more global and complete way.

The links below propose these suggestions.

quick links

5 steps to convince about safety

Why air safety improvement is too slow (organisation)?

Why air safety improvement is too slow (culture)?

Why training is the main solution to human factors issues

Human factors still the current challenge of the industry

No limits for the understanding of human factors

Suggestions for a discipline committee

Too long briefings

Current CRM have reach its limits

Aviation safety international legal definitions

Two statements about fatigue every manager must know