Cockpit task management errors : an ASRS incident report study Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zc77ss41c

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  • The flightcrew of a modern airliner operates in a multi-tasking environment with several tasks competing for the same attentional resources at the same time. Too many tasks vying for the crew's attention concurrently imposes a heavy workload on the flightcrew. This results in the satisfactory execution of some tasks at the expense of others. Consequently, flightcrews must manage cockpit tasks a process we call Cockpit Task Management (CTM). Funk (1991) defines cockpit task management (CTM) as the process flightcrews use to prioritize cockpit tasks, allocate required resources, initiate and terminate multiple concurrent tasks. Despite improvements in aircraft reliability and advancements in aircraft cockpit automation, "pilot error" is cited as the main reason (over 60% of all aircraft accidents) for planes still falling out of the skies. One of the objectives of this research was to determine the significance of CTM errors in "pilot errors". Having established its significance, the next step was to refine the existing error taxonomy of Chou & Funk (1991). A structured error classification methodology was also developed for classifying CTM errors and validated using 470 Aviation safety Reporting System (ASRS) airline incident reports. This study identified CTM errors as a significant component of "pilot errors" accounting for 231 of the 470 incidents analyzed (49.2%). While Task Initiation errors accounted for the largest of the general error categories (41.5%), it was the Task Prioritization errors (35% of general and specific error categories) that unlocked the door that led to error committals in the other error categories. Task Prioritization errors led to Resource allocation errors which, in turn, resulted in several kinds of errors being committed in the other categories. The findings had implications that were largely training-based. In particular, the importance of pilot education which CTM provides (as opposed to crew training that CRM provides) is emphasized. The incorporation of formal CTM concept into existing CRM training programs was advocated. In addition, a staggered scheduling mechanism in crew training agenda involving CTM, CRM, Line-Oriented-Flight-Training (LOFT) and simulator sessions was suggested. A recommendation was made for a comprehensive Cockpit Task Management System (CTMS) to be installed in the cockpit to help crews to prioritize tasks and remind them of the need to initiate, terminate or reprioritize tasks as necessary. The inclusion of Air Traffic Control personnel in flightcrew training sessions was also recommended.
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