Automation Technology and Human Performance: Current Research and Trends

By Mark W. Scerbo | Go to book overview
Save to active project

there was no difference in the number of correct diagnoses between conditions but the times to a diagnosis indicate that it was not whether the subjects determined the cause but when they did it. As predicted, when the subjects knew what was going on, they were better able to make the correct system response.

One interesting result not shown above was the response of two subjects in the Faultfinder condition who correctly diagnosed the leak and correctly shut down the engine but did not divert to the nearest alternate as mandated by ETOPS rules (both subjects were ETOPS rated). In the baseline case, all three subjects who shut down the engine chose to divert. This gives rise to the possibility that the additional systems information may affect mission performance. This finding agrees with Rogers' et al. ( 1996) discussion of the propagation of information between different operational levels. Because this response was unexpected, it was not addressed in the standard experiment debriefing and therefore the reason that the pilots did not divert may never be known. However, one could speculate that the subjects knew that the problem was a leak, that the leak was secured, and that the engine was still good (although handicapped). Therefore, the subsystem was operational, just not operating. This, coupled with the fact that the alternate was only 100 miles closer and the passengers were expecting to go to Honolulu, may have led the subjects to press to destination. This was not necessarily a wise decision given that the right engine had failed earlier in the flight but it is understandable.

Only one subject (Faultfinder condition) felt that the engine failure and fuel loss were related. This subject elected not to shut the engine down because he felt that there was some contaminant in the fuel. Most, but not all, of the information provided by Faultfinder could have supported this hypothesis. When the FUEL DISAGREE message appeared, the subject persevered in his "contaminant" hypothesis even though it did not explain the fuel loss.

In summary, it appears that providing this additional fault management information has operational value even when the displays are not optimized for the information. As Tenney et al. ( 1997) pointed out in their analysis of the data, the additional information may have assisted the crew in performing more knowledge-based processing rather than simply skill- or rule-based processing. To be sure, there is more research to be done regarding issues such as false alarms and missed alerts, and over-reliance on such a system, however this research and others like it ( Trujillo, 1997) demonstrate significant potential.


The authors wish to acknowledge the support of John Barry, Dr. William Rogers, Dr. Yvette Tenney, Capt. Skeet Gifford (ret.), Capt. Dave Simmon (ret.) and Myron Sothcott without whom this experiment would not have been possible.


Abbott K. H. ( 1991). Robust fault diagnosis of physical systems in operation (NASA-TM-102767). Hampton, VA: NASA Langley Research Center.

Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. ( 1996). Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Aircraft Accidents, World Wide Operations, 1959- 1995.

Endsley M. R. ( 1995). Toward a theory of situation awareness in dynamic systems. Human Factors, 37( 1), 32-64.

Klein G. A., Orasanu J., Calderwood R., & Zsambok C. E. ( 1993). Decision making in action: Models and methods. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Co.

National Transportation Safety Board. ( 1990). Aircraft accident report: United Airlines Flight 232 McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 Sioux Gateway Airport, Sioux City, Iowa, July 19, 1989 (NTSB- AAR-90-06). Washington, DC: National Transportation Safety Board.

Reason J. ( 1990). Human error. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Automation Technology and Human Performance: Current Research and Trends
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 348

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?