Decision Making in Preflight Operations A study of memory supports and feedback

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : KTH

Sammanfattning: The purpose of this thesis is to explore how support systems enable human control within normal flight operations. The thesis focuses on the use of memory supports during flight, such as a handheld computing device, memory strategies and checklists. The support systems are studied from the theoretical perspective of Human Factors. In particular, decision making theories have contributed to the thesis. From previous research it is found that feedback to the operator in case of a human error is essential to keep him or her in a safe sequence of decisions and actions.To facilitate the pilots’ tasks in cockpit, computing devices are out on the market. Several of the technical aids are computers installed in cockpit whereas others are smaller, portable devices with hardware not specifically designed for use in cockpit. Jump-seat observations have been performed at an airline company to explore the pilots’ work process in cockpit where a handheld computing device, with hardware not specifically designed for cockpit, is in use. Subsequent semi-structured interviews were conducted to receive the pilots’ experiences of findings from the observations and to receive descriptions of decisions and support systems.The thesis includes a description of flight operations from a pilot perspective. The main focus is on operations in the preflight phase where the new computing device is used. Identified characteristics in flight operations are factors such as cooperation, communication, interruptions. Furthermore, identified factors in the decision making were such as routine, environmental constraints, discrete alternatives and dependency between decisions. Feedback points during the sequence of tasks performed with the handheld computing device were distinguished. These points are moments when feedback is possible. For example, when the pilots cross-check tasks they receive feedback from each other. It was found that the pilots did not use every opportunity to receive feedback on their performance. The reason of the non-used feedback point was that it was not required by the Standard Operating Procedures or by any functions or design of the device. Within flight operations in general, it was found that the most important techniques to detect a human error such as a memory lapse were by pilots’ earlier experiences, the use of checklists and by receiving feedback from the other pilot.