Humm... Am I a human factors expert?

There are a lot of definitions of Human Factors out there … so let me add one more. Human Factors is the application of knowledge about human capabilities and limitations to design for safe, comfortable, and efficient use. [This definition is an amalgamation of a number of definitions but most particularly the definitions found in Alphonse Chapanis’ 1995 Ergonomics in Product Development: A Personal View, and Martin Helander’s 1997 The Human Factors Profession.] And, when Human Factors is effectively included in the design process, the product can enjoy a number of benefits.  Some benefits include minimizing the potential for use error; reducing the amount of required training and guidance material to use your product; and increased user satisfaction, productivity, and confidence in your product. A thought more common than you’d expect is: Last time I checked I was human, so aren’t I a human factors expert? Isn’t it just common sense?  … Continue reading

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As you may know, FAA Title 14 CFR Parts 135, 121, and 125 define the Operational Requirements for various types of operations conducted in U.S. airspace.  But do you know when each one applies? This can get a bit tricky, so I’ll try to unravel the applicability of the operational requirements for various passenger carrying operations. Specific attributes of the operation, design, and configuration of the aircraft are used to determine which of these three Operational Requirements are applicable to a particular operation to be certified. FAA Operational Requirements The three FAA Title 14 operational requirements and their full titles are: Part 135 – Operating Requirements: Commuter And On Demand Operations And Rules Governing Persons On Board Such Aircraft Part 121 – Operating Requirements: Domestic, Flag, And Supplemental Operations Part 125 – Certification And Operations: Airplanes Having A Seating Capacity Of 20 Or More Passengers Or A Maximum Payload Capacity … Continue reading

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home office

As we’ve discussed on our blog, RII is a small business with an entirely virtual team.  Each team member works from a home office and most of our interactions happen from a distance, utilizing some type of technology to communicate (phone, e-mail, instant messages, video conferencing, etc.)   We have asked the question (like so many others) — Can a company and its employees be successful working from home? Recently a co-worker shared with me this article  by Dr. Kerry Schofield, co-founder and Chief Psychometrics Officer at Good Co., regarding how to create meaningful working relationships while working from home. The article uses the research of Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, as a springboard for exploring meaningful work relationships in a virtual environment. Based on Robin Dunbar’s research, there is a theoretical limit to the size of the social network that we can maintain and an … Continue reading

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Intended-Users-5-characteristics (2)

Before you delve into the design of a new system, you are likely aware that you need to define your intentions for the system. This includes not only the intended function and the intended context, but also a clear description of your intended users. Intended users—the type of people who you will use your system—will greatly impact design decisions that you make early in the process. If you’ve ever gone to parent-teacher night and been forced to sit in your kindergartner’s chair, you’ve already got a good idea of what we mean when we talk about how defining intended users will impact design decisions. Why define your intended users? Defining your intended users means that you will be more likely to make design decisions that allow your users to operate the system to achieve its intended function effectively, efficiently, and comfortably. (Think about that kindergarten classroom chair.) When you fully … Continue reading

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A lot of airplane and avionics manufacturing companies are starting to prepare their teams to address the newly released FAA regulation covering human factors issues: 14 CFR 25.1302.  There is a lot to learn, but here are the top five things you should know. In a nutshell, 14 CFR 25.1302… 1. Applies to everything in the flight deck meant to be used by the flight crew It is a general applicability regulation that applies to all systems and equipment that will be used by the flight crew in any way during their flight duties. 2. Applies to system individually as well as possible impact on other systems Showing compliance to the regulation must include human factors considerations on the design and performance of the system or equipment in isolation, as well as how it will be used with other flight deck systems or equipment.  The potential impact on the use … Continue reading

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3rd post in the series Whether you are designing and then later modifying a single avionics component or a full aircraft, aviation projects can take a long time to move from paper to production. Since a certification basis is typically defined early in a product’s life, there can be a fairly long lag between the time a new rule is released and when that rule officially gets added to the laundry list of rules that a particular product must comply with. So, the big question is: when will the newly released 14 CFR 25.1302 get added to your cert basis? We heard this question a lot during the recent research project that we did for the FAA to gather information about the state of industry and FAA understanding and practices that may impact the effective implementation and compliance with the (at the time proposed) 14 CFR 25.1302 regulation. (Note: This … Continue reading

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Screenshot of Overview of HFYI Training Series

We are excited to release a video overview of the aviation design and certification processes that make up the foundation of our new aviation training series. Click Here for immediate access to the overview video on The free presentation provides a global look at how we break down the design process that we use for our 9 course training series. We are a human factors training and research company, so we focus on the aspects of the process that relate to the human factors design and certification decisions that must be made, although we recognize that there are many other important aspects to the overall process. The team at Research Integrations developed this process breakdown based on our work over many years addressing the human factors aspects of aviation design and certification for the FAA, NASA, as well as others. In particular, our work as part of the team … Continue reading

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This is an exciting day! After a lot of hard work by many folks, 14 CFR 25.1302 regulation has been released. As you may already know (or have read about in our blog series about the 14 CFR 25.1302 regulation), 14 CFR 25.1302 is a general applicability FAA regulation that includes explicit requirements for design attributes related to avoiding and managing flight crew error. While FAA 14 CFR 25.1523 and corresponding Appendix D have addressed some related design attributes, this proposed FAA regulation represents a much more global approach to human factors on the flight deck and will require system and equipment designers to consider human error and feedback in their design and testing of flight deck interfaces. And, today, the final rule for 14 CFR 25.1302 has been published in the Federal Register.  You can find the published rule on the Federal Register: 14 CFR 25.1302 Installed Systems and … Continue reading

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Research Integrations, Inc is proud to introduce, our new hub to help you get geared up with human factors information so that you can address real-world challenges. “HFYI” is Human Factors – For Your Information. will become your go-to source for applied Human Factors training and information resources that bridge the gap between research and industry. You will find information presented in user-friendly, jargon-free language. Our applied training products provide you with the base knowledge required to address technical areas as well as structured processes so that you leave training with a strategy to effectively apply your industry expertise in a focused manner. We help equip you to confidently make effective decisions on the front lines. HFYI Training Series: Human Factors in the Aviation Design and Certification Process Course 1: Defining and Documenting Intended Function The seminal online training course: Defining and Documenting Intended Function is dedicated … Continue reading

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Everyday small aircraft and business jets fly safely and effectively with a single pilot behind the control stick in the flight deck.  But, currently large aircraft (e.g., those with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) greater than 12,500 lbs), must have at least two pilots in the flight deck to fly the plane.  So, what would it take to be able to certify large Transport Category Aircraft for Single Pilot Operations (SPO)? Well, we’ve just begun a research project for NASA to begin to contribute to answering this question.  In our project, we will explore the processes used to evaluate and certify an airplane design and operations for a particular minimum flight crew (single pilot or crew of two or more).  We will use this information to build an understanding of certification issues and regulatory challenges that would be related to gaining FAA approval for Single Pilot Operations in categories of … Continue reading

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