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- Managing several tasks concurrently is an everyday part of cockpit operations. For the most part, crews handle concurrent task demands efficiently, yet crew preoccupation with one task to the detriment of performing other tasks is one of the more common forms of error in the cockpit. Most pilots are familiar with the December 1972 L1011 crash that occurred when the crew became preoccupied with a landing gear light malfunction and failed to notice that someone had inadvertently bumped off the autopilot. More recently a DC-9 landed gear-up in Houston when the crew, preoccupied with an stabilized approach, failed to recognize that the gear was not down because they had not switched the hydraulic pumps to high. We have recently started a research project to study why crews are vulnerable to these sorts of errors. As part of that project we reviewed NTSB reports of accidents attributed to crew error; we concluded that nearly half of these accidents involved lapses of attention associated with interruptions, distractions, or preoccupation with one task to the exclusion of another task. We have also analyzed 107 ASRS reports involving competing tasks; we present here some of our conclusions from those ASRS reports. These 107 reports involved 21 different types of routine tasks crews neglected at a critical moment while attending to another task. Sixty-nine percent of the neglected tasks involved either failure to monitor the current status or position of the aircraft or failure to monitor the actions of the pilot flying or taxiing. Thirty-four different types of competing activities distracted or preoccupied the pilots. Ninety percent of these competing activities fell into one of four broad categories: communication (e.g., discussion among crew or radio communication), heads-down work (e.g., programming the FMS or reviewing approach plates), responding to abnormals, or searching for VMC traffic. We will discuss examples of each of these four categories and suggest things crews can do to reduce their vulnerability to these and similar situations.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20020062698.
CRM Industry Conference; 21-23 Sep. 1998; Daytona, FL; United States.
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View MARC record | catkey: 15968085