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Human Factors in Aviation/ The Failing Aviator

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Human Factors in Aviation/ The Failing Aviator CDR Mark Mittauer NOMI Psychiatry Outline Human Factors in Aviation Five Types of High Risk Aviators Human Factors in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Human Factors in Aviation/ The Failing Aviator


1
Human Factors in Aviation/ The Failing Aviator
  • CDR Mark Mittauer
  • NOMI Psychiatry

2
Outline
  • Human Factors in Aviation
  • Five Types of High Risk Aviators

3
Human Factors in Aviation
  • Definition The personal and professional
    concerns that interfere with an aviators ability
    to fly safely and effectively

4
Reference on Human Factors
  • COMNAVAIRLANT INSTRUCTION 5420.5C (Human Factors
    Council and Human Factors Board Policy and
    Procedures)

5
Why so we care about human factors in aviation?
  • What percentage of aviation mishaps are caused by
    pilot error?
  • About 75

6
The Problem ...
  • Fellow aviator peers and supervisors often know
    that an aviator is stressed - but do not speak up

7
Why are squadron members reluctant to express
concern about a stressed aviator?
  • fear of contamination (if Viper cant hack it,
    maybe I will also have problems)
  • embarrassment - that a squadron bubba is failing

8
Why might the aviator himself avoid asking for
help?
  • denial - a normal defense used by all successful
    aviators
  • fear of extrusion from the squadron
  • stigma of psychiatric illness
  • (false) belief that psychiatric treatment means
    permanent grounding

9
Human Factors Problems in Mishaps
  • The aviator has inadequate knowledge, skill, or
    discipline - to fly safely
  • The aviator is overwhelmed due to personal
    problems

10
Personal Problems Facing Aviators
  • medical conditions (cold)
  • alcoholism
  • family problems
  • financial stress
  • welcome changes - new child

11
Personal Problems (Job)
  • disappointing training evaluation or fitness
    report
  • passed over for promotion
  • flying qualifications not current
  • new position (mission commander)

12
Personal Problems Unique to Female Aviators(?)
  • death of a close friend in an aircraft mishap
  • perceived sexual harassment/hostile work
    environment
  • (one study found this factor in 25 of
    overstressed female aviators)

13
How do these problems affect the stressed aviator?
  • fatigue
  • distraction (unable to compartmentalize)
  • poor judgment
  • excessive risk-taking (safety violations)
  • poor communication and coordination with other
    aircrew

14
Potentially Dangerous Aviators
  • overstressed aviator
  • below average nugget or transition aviator
  • consistent poor performer
  • overconfident senior aviator
  • best pilot/NFO (ace of the base)

15
Overstressed Aviator - Characteristics
  • faces major life stressors or many minor
    stressors
  • mood swings
  • anger outbursts
  • depression
  • anxiety/panic attacks
  • unable to compartmentalize
  • suicidal or homicidal thoughts

16
Overstressed Aviator - Interventions
  • temporary grounding
  • flight surgeon evaluation
  • mental health referral
  • - psychiatrist or psychologist
  • - social worker (Family Service
    Center)
  • - chaplain
  • Note Mental Health referral is not a career-
  • ender

17
Below Average Nugget/Transition Aviator
  • behind peers in training
  • fails exams/flight downs
  • poor knowledge of procedures
  • inadequate skills
  • poor headwork
  • lacks confidence

18
Below Average Nugget - Interventions
  • remedial training
  • roll back in training
  • crew with best instructor
  • minimize collateral duties
  • honest, but constructive, debriefs
  • (not a problem in VT-86!)

19
Consistent Poor Performer(weak stick/scope?)
  • poor progress completing qualifications
  • frequent snivels out of flights
  • task saturation
  • often loses SA bag (situation awareness)
  • lacks confidence

20
Poor Performer - Interventions
  • monitor performance closely
  • remedial training
  • crew with best instructor
  • minimize collateral duties

21
Overconfident Senior Aviator -Characteristics
  • away from the aircraft too long
  • infrequent flight time
  • been there, done that attitude (feels that
    experience replaces proficiency)
  • NATOPS?
  • intimidates junior aircrew

22
Senior Aviator - Interventions
  • CO confront and counsel
  • crew with other senior aviators
  • additional flight time

23
Best Aviator - Characteristics
  • may overestimate ability
  • pushes the envelope
  • underestimates mission risk
  • violates NATOPS/SOP
  • poor aircrew coordination (does not request input
    from other aircrew)

24
Best Aviator - Interventions
  • CO confront
  • clarify standards/SOP
  • restrict flights

25
Behavior of the Failing Male Aviator
  • acting out (alcohol excess, the red Corvette,
    partying)
  • displays of bravado
  • - carrier quals at Happy Hour
  • - unsafe flying
  • macho posturing

26
Do failing minority aviators act differently?
  • perhaps

27
Study by Berg and Moore of 12 failing female
aviators
  • emotional distress hidden
  • (more depression, guilt, hopelessness)
  • social withdrawal
  • NO acting out or risk-taking

28
Why might failing female aviators behave
differently?
  • need for acceptance in the mostly male squadron
  • do not want to be labeled as weak females

29
Pearls
  • Female aviators may be affected by different
    stresses - compared to males
  • Stressed aviators today may have more subtle
    signs of being overwhelmed
  • DO NOT rely on the aviator to determine if he/she
    cannot compartmentalize!

30
Finis
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