Aerospace Human Factors Research

Carla Hackworth, Ph.D., Manager

CAMI’s Aerospace Human Factors Research Division conducts field and laboratory research supporting the performance of front-line aviation personnel, including pilots, air traffic controllers, aviation maintainers, dispatchers, avionics (technical operations) technicians, flight attendants, and ramp workers, with the goal of improving operational efficiency and safety. Aerospace Human Factors research program domains are:

Information processing and displays

Integrating new and advanced information processing technologies, displays, systems, and operational concepts into the aviation environment can improve safety, access, efficiency, and throughput dramatically. This integration may reduce infrastructure and life cycle costs. Empirical research answers critical questions about these factors and informs the development of new policy, safety standards, and approval criteria.

Biophysiological delimiters

Human operators in the airspace system have biophysical capabilities and limitations that affect task performance. Research identifies minimum human performance standards and informs equipment design, including inherent capabilities and performance filters, psycho-physiological minima, and viable mitigations or accommodations.

System design and automation

Examining and considering the human performance impacts of system design and automation is critical for optimizing aerospace system operations while maintaining our standards for aviation safety. Optimizing the relationship between humans and technology requires focus on a complex set of factors, including the system design, task automation, and the procedures involved.

Aviation workforce optimization

A variety of aviation occupations exist to keep the aerospace system safe and efficient. Optimizing the aviation workforce is critical to the sustainability of a safe aerospace system over time and through workforce changes. Assessing technical training methods and technologies used for training technical operations technicians, air traffic controllers, aviation maintainers, and pilots with clear measurable performance criteria is key to understanding successful approaches.

Organizational and program assessment 

Assessing the success of inter- and intra-organizational initiatives allows researchers to identify the factors that influence goal achievement, determine the effectiveness of the initiatives, and recommend changes to improve organizational effectiveness. Evaluation of safety culture, risk perception, and adherence within high reliability organizations provide stakeholders with critical information identifying gaps in communication, performance improvement, and cultural health.

This research is accomplished within two research laboratories, the Flight Deck Human Factors Research Laboratory and the NAS Human Factors Safety Research Laboratory.


Last updated: Friday, December 16, 2022