Alex Gervash Pilot. Psychologist and fear of flying specialist.
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Human factor in aviation

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Human factor in aviation
The plane is controlled by a human. And humans make mistakes. This is a fact, and the world of aviation is well aware of this fact. Among the most common concerns of fearful flyers, it is that there is possibility of a terrible catastrophe due to the error of some unknown person behind a door of the cockpit.
Let us find out whether these fears are valid. It is obvious that at least in 1% of 140,000 daily flights, people who control the aircraft make mistakes, because everyone makes them, and the pilots, who are Homo sapiens as well as you, cannot ALWAYS work flawlessly.
That is obvious. Another thing is also obvious: if every error of a pilot lead to sad consequences, then the notorious human factor would cause 1400 plane crashes every day. However, this does not happen. This means that aviation is ready for the fact that people can make mistakes, and it is structured in such a way  to prevent fatal results in case of an error of a crew member.
How? By creating a system called cross-check. This system ASSUMES a priori the possibility of an error of a crewmember, and that is exactly why every action performed by one person (be it a flight attendant, a pilot or a technician) is controlled by another person. For example, the flight attendant who locks the door of an airplane before taxiing will make sure to check the adjacent door. And the colleague on the opposite side will check the door locked by the first attendant. After that, the smart electronics of the airplane will check that the doors are really locked. Only after that, the commander will get a message that the doors are ready. Everything from the smallest to the most complex process in aviation happens just like this: people check one another, and electronics check people.
Such a control system alludes to the fact that any error will be detected at a stage when it can still be corrected without posing a threat to the safety of the flight. People make mistakes, and the aviation is ready for this. Today, no human error leads to a plane crash.
Of course, even such an ultra-reliable control system, where several people and several computers are involved, cannot be ABSOLUTELY accident-free, as no system in the world can be accident-free. However, it is in aviation, onboard the airplane, where your safety is higher than in any other process of human life.
Don’t forget that the human factor is present not only in the plane, but also to a much greater extent on the ground. However, in aviation every human action is controlled more than once, reducing the possibility of tragic mistakes, on earth our lives often depend on actions of various third parties, which are not controlled by anyone and anything.


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