Overcoming Personal Human Facors in Aviation Essay

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Overcoming Personal Human Factors in Aviation
Christopher S. Weatherup
Nova Southeastern University

Overcoming Personal Human Factors in Aviation
The term “Human Factors” has become increasingly a well-known phrase in the aviation industry since realizing that human error, more so than mechanical failure, is the underlining issue in a majority of aviation accidents and incidents. Human factors vary and range from one extreme to the other, yet all pilots will experience either negative or positive factors at some point while working in the industry. Improving human performance can help the industry reduce aviation accidents, as well as incidents and put the focus back on the design and structure of airplanes. For the majority of my adult life I have struggled with experiencing fatigue. If I am working in various temperatures or experiencing longer than normal work hours I often find myself extremely weary and past the point of exhaustion. Fatigue, by itself, is not so much the danger as is being mentally and physically unable to perform due to impaired alertness and lack of performance. With the aviation industry serving the needs of the globe 24/7 there is now a demand for pilots to work an around-the-clock schedule. Although it is important for the airline industry to be able to maintain these demands it is even more vital to acknowledge the physiological risk associated with fatigue and bring awareness to the industry. For myself personally, when I am fatigued I suffer from slow productivity and poor performance which ultimately has the potential to affect my safety as well as the safety of others around me. My greatest fear with becoming a pilot and flying globally is flying through multiple time zone changes and having extended periods of where I am required to be awake due to international flights or cross country. According to Human Factors in Aviation by Salas & Maurino the risk of accidents and injuries increase as the work load increases, especially after more than 12 hours of work per day or more than 70 hours of work per week. In learning to manage my personal human factor, I have concluded that there must be certain countermeasures I take to ensure I am never at risk. These countermeasures include being aware of the symptoms of fatigue in myself and in others, sleep and exercise regularly, ask others to double check my work and performance and lastly avoid working excessive overtime hours. I am confident that if I maintain these countermeasures along with using