Home' RTCA Documents for Review : Addressing Human Factors/Pilot Interface Issues Contents i
The aviation accident rate is at the lowest rate it has ever been with 0.23 fatal accidents per million
departures of commercial passenger operations
though the general aviation market still hovers around 1
fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours (Airbus, 2016; Boeing, 2016; Federal Aviation Administration,
2016). One result that has not changed with the aircraft accidents is the consistent finding that the vast
majority of accidents have human error as a contributing factor (Wiegmann & Shappell, 2001; Shappell et
al., 2007; Dismukes, Berman, & Loukopoulos, 2007). This understanding emphasizes the importance of
addressing human factors throughout the product development and certification process. The consideration
of the design aspects that impact human performance and the process for evaluating the human factors
aspects will lead to easier to use, more efficient, more reliable and safer systems, as well as reduce the need
for costly redesign.
Recognizing the importance of human factors, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requested that
RTCA form a committee to identify a recommended process for evaluating the human factors/pilot interface
aspects of avionics as well as to document some prevalent human factors issues that may aid the early
identification and resolution of these issues as part of the design and evaluation process. The FAA
documented this information previously in expired FAA Notice 8110.98, Addressing Human Factors/Pilot
Interface Issues of Complex, Integrated Avionics as Part of the Technical Standard Order (TSO) Process.
The original notice only addressed the TSO process, however human factors issues were being regularly
identified late in the Type Certificate (TC), Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), and Amended Type
Certificate (ATC) processes with installed avionics. The goal of this RTCA document was to extend the
expired FAA Notice to address these processes. In addition, the FAA aimed to promote the early
identification and resolution of human factors issues as part of the design and evaluation process.
RTCA formed Special Committee 233 made up of individuals representing industry and the certification
authorities with human factors experience in product development and certification. Described herein are
those practices that capture an effective process for evaluating the human factors aspects of avionics
(Section 2) and a compilation of prevalent, recurring human factors issues identified during past
certification programs in an effort to avoid common pitfalls (Section 3). Section 2 is based on the original
steps in expired FAA Notice 8110.98. Considerations were made for extending the process to include TC,
STC, and ATC. For Section 3, the aim was not to identify every human factors issue encountered but instead
a representative sample. The focus remained on two core principles: (1) identifying human factors aspects
in a generic evaluation process that could be tailored as appropriate and used by both avionics
manufacturers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and the certification authorities alike, and (2)
including only those human factors issues that were recurring in the certification process and had a clear
human factors basis.
The anticipated implementation of this special committee’s RTCA document is to be acknowledged in a
new FAA information-only Advisory Circular. It is meant to aid in the early identification of human factors
aspects and the resolution of pilot interface issues as part of the design and certification process, but is not
intended as a means of compliance for certification. Regulatory requirements and guidance take precedence
over the content of this document. Section 2 can be used as a guide that, if followed, should minimize the
number of late and costly design changes. Section 3 can be used to identify specific human factors aspects
to consider when designing avionics and/or conducting human factors/pilot interface evaluations of
The end of this document provides a form to submit comments and considerations for future updates to the
document. Comments should be provided to RTCA at 1150 18th Street NW, Suite 910, Washington, DC
20036, addressed to Rebecca Morrison, Program Director.
1 Boeing accident statistics consider worldwide jet airplanes heavier than 60,000 pounds (Boeing, 2016).
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