Investigating the impacts of COVID-19 on aviation safety based on occurrences captured through flight data monitoring

Wen Chin Li*, Arthur Nichanian, John Lin, Graham Braithwaite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic led to growing concerns about pilots’ proficiency due to the significant decrease in flight operations. The objective of this research is to provide a proactive approach to mitigate potential risks in flight operations associated with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic using flight data monitoring (FDM). The results demonstrated significant associations between the pandemic impacts and FDM exceedance categories, flight phases and fleets. Manual flying skill decay, lack of practice effects on use of standard operating procedures and knowledge of flight deck automation should be considered by airlines when preparing for the return to normal operations. An FDM Programme allows prediction of the probability and severity of occurrences for developing an effective SMS within an airline. To mitigate the impacts of the pandemic, tailored training sessions must be implemented, and airlines should strive to avoid additional optional procedures where practicable. Practitioner summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns regarding pilot proficiency due to lack of practice effects. Results from the Flight Data Monitoring Programme show significant associations between the pandemic impacts and occurrence categories, fleets, and flight phases. FDM can be applied to mitigate the probability and severity of occurrences for airlines developing effective safety management systems.HIGHLIGHTS There is a significant association between the COVID-19 pandemic stages and FDM events in different flight phases, FDM categories, and aircraft types The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in FDM exceedances, especially for precursors on runway excursion and go-arounds Airlines should carefully plan training sessions for pilots as the disruptions due to the pandemic led to a lack of practice effect in flight operations Reviewing FDM data may have contributions to establish proactive SMS and mitigate COVID-19 impacts to aviation safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1534-1548
Number of pages15
JournalErgonomics
Volume66
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Aviation safety
  • COVID-19
  • flight data monitoring
  • operational proficiency
  • safety resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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