Human-factors lessons from a longitudinal, in-vivo study of operations at a low-cost carrier
by Simon A. Bennett
International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics (IJHFE), Vol. 7, No. 1, 2020

Abstract: Apart from Ginnett's (1990) seminal paper, there are few in-vivo studies of flight operations and of crew resource management (CRM). This paper presents an ethnographic account of 56 intra-European flights and an in-house CRM training course. It was found that: 1) pilot-cabin crew teams functioned effectively; 2) safety-critical flight-deck routines were subject to interruption; 3) pilots and cabin crewmembers provided emotional support to colleagues; 4) pilots who had not operated for a considerable time could be rostered to operate services to challenging airfields. The findings suggested that: 1) joint training of pilots and cabin crew in CRM delivers benefits; 2) benefits would accrue from expanding the CRM training catchment; 3) services to challenging airfields must be crewed by pilots who operate regularly. The observations made by Ginnett 20-years ago still hold. It is recommended that the industry develops a complete understanding of the lived-reality of flight operations.

Online publication date: Mon, 11-May-2020

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