Aviation Psychology and Human Factors

Monica Martinussen & David Hunter

Written by psychologists for pilots

Check it out at reviewer gives the book 5 Stars.

5.0 out of 5 stars--Great Human Factors Book!
September 25, 2010

"I've read a lot on the subject of aviation psychology and human factors during my time as a student in aviation, and this book is among the best of what's available. Written by two active experts in the field of aviation psychology, the book provides an in-depth look at the subject, including summations of much of the significant research that has been done in the field.

For a student in the field on aviation, whether you're a pilot, a controller, or even just an interested researcher, I would highly recommend this book."


While it is true that fortune favors the prepared mind, in the field of aviation, it may be equally true that misfortune often punishes an unprepared mind. To be fully prepared, pilots must have comprehensive knowledge of weather, aerodynamics, propulsion, navigation, and all the other technical disciplines. However, they must also have a comprehensive understanding of the component that is simultaneously the most fragile and most resilient, the most unreliable and the most adaptable—the human being.

Aviation Psychology and Human Factors explores the application of psychological principles and techniques to the specific situations and problems of aviation. It provides a complete overview of the role of psychology in the field of aviation. The authors address the contribution of psychology in the design of aviation systems, the selection and training of pilots, the psychological characteristics of pilots that may relate to aviation safety, and to the behavior of passengers. They cover key concepts of psychological research and data analysis at a depth that fosters a greater appreciation of how these tools are used in the development of new psychological knowledge.

A keener understanding of aviation psychology will better prepare pilots for the demands that aviation will make. While many books cover this subject for psychologists, very few, if any present the material to pilots. With balanced coverage that makes the material accessible to both, this book makes pilots aware of the positive impact psychology and its application can have on improving aviation operations, providing specific information that pilots can use in their daily operations. It gives psychologists a better understanding of how their discipline is applied to aviation, while giving pilots the tools to better evaluate and implement future products in the field of aviation psychology.


Table of Contents

Introduction: What is Aviation Psychology

What is research?
Goals of psychology
Models and psychological constructs
Human performance models
Models of human information processing
Models of accident causation
Models of aeronautical decision-making (ADM)

Research Methods and Statistics

The research process
Literature reviews and formulating research questions
Descriptive methods and measurement
Experiments, quasi-experiments and correlational designs
Design and validity
Research ethics

Engineering Psychology and the Design of Aviation Systems

Types of human error
Human characteristics and design
Principles of display design
System design
An example: Design of the fuel gauge
Current issues

Personnel Selection

Job analysis
Predictors and criteria
How do we know that the predictors work?
Historical overview of pilot selection methods
How well do the different methods predict performance
Personality and work performance
Computer-based testing
The utility of testing
Fairness and selection
Applicant reactions and attitudes


Training system design
CRM training
Simulator training
Training using personal computers
Recurrent training and skill decay

Human Performance and Reactions

What is stress?
Conflict between home and work
Burnout and engagement
Individual differences and stress
Consequences of stress
Shift work
The joys and stressors of air travel
Unruly passengers
What is air rage?

Culture, Organizations and Leadership

Organizations and accidents
What is culture?
National cultures
Professional cultures
Organizational cultures
Safety culture
Women and aviation
Restructuring in organizations

Aviation Safety

Accident incident
Causes of accidents
Classification of aircraft accidents
Special problems in doing research on accidents
Why are some pilots safer than others?
The decision-making component of accidents
Aeronautical decision-making
Hazardous attitudes
Other programs to improve safety

Internet resources

Civil aviation authorities
Accident investigation boards
Other civilian government agencies
Military organizations
University research centers
Linkage sites

The authors

Subject index