Problem Scenario Sheet for Human Factors

Research Design: Quantitative

Research Problem

The Vice President, Training and Human Factors, for our airline is concerned that human error, particularly related to overload in the digital flight deck environment, seems to be increasing in the data reported for industry incidents and accidents. Since there are relatively few accidents, the Vice President believes that there may be better information and more relevant data elsewhere. The Vice President, through our Director for Safety Compliance and Human Factors, has tasked you with developing information on this issue and reporting your findings internally. Once the information is developed, further actions will be considered as needed.

Data Description

You determine that the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) managed by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contains the information you need. The database is open to the public. There are thirty (30) ASRS Database Report Sets consisting of 50 entries for each comprised of the latest events added to the database. Each entry includes a synopsis and report narrative that also provides extensive descriptive information. The section on Assessments typically provides the primary problem and the contributing factors. 

Expected Outcome

Read the synopses (and details if needed). Identify which of the reported items appear to be human factors issues. Place the selected items into categories that reflect upon or influence pilot error. Consider further which items indicate possible task saturation, cognitive overload, confusion, or related error or overload characteristics. Identify what the nature of error appears to include. Identify the operation, conditions, mode of flight, whether automation is a factor, and so on. Consider a statistical analysis to indicate whether a particular category is increasing significantly, and/or, whether there appear to be any correlations among the findings. Indicate how you will group the data, compare the categories, and determine which among the groups, if any, is statistically significant. The findings should be presented so that, if necessary, clear and immediate actions can be taken to address the concerns. Before proceeding, present your detailed plan of how you define the problem and the approach you plan to take to analyze the data, including a hypothesis with a statistical test, as appropriate. 


Access the ASRS Datasets. They can be downloaded as PDFs.

Of the available database sets, use the following from which to extract data:

  • Air Carrier (FAR 121) Flight Crew Fatigue Reports
  • Checklist Incidents
  • CRM Issues
  • Near Midair Collision Incidents
  • Pilot / Controller Communications
  • Runway Incursions

You may include others at your discretion.

Additional resources available: