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Use the right words - An observational study over the association between communication skills and errors of aircraft pilots.

Okur, C.T. (2014) Use the right words - An observational study over the association between communication skills and errors of aircraft pilots.

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Abstract:Introduction: Communication can cause huge problems for professional teams that are working in safety critical environments, e.g. aircraft cockpits. They have to fulfill different tasks and to communicate effectively at the same time. Research findings show that problems related to communication can be found in 70-80% of all accidents in aviation. Additional research results show that the use of certain communication elements correlates negatively and significantly with the number of pilot failures. It is supposed that bad communication skills will increase workload, or lead to a mismatch between the (shared) mental model of the cockpit crew and the real world, or activate a wrong mental schema. This study tested if there do exist statistical correlations and associations between certain communication elements and the different types of errors, aircraft pilots make. Those correlations were assumed to be significant. Method: An observation form and an error protocol were developed and were used during 23 check flights in a Flight Training Center. Correlations between the different variables was calculated and afterwards a stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to construct the best models in describing the associations between communication skills and pilot errors. Conclusion: According to the assumption of this study, significant correlations between different communication elements and different types of errors were found. Furthermore, four models that describe the association between communication skills and the total number of errors, skill-based errors, decision-based errors and perceptual errors were constructed. Discussion: The aim of this study was to investigate if there do exist statistical correlations between different types of pilot errors and different communication elements. Further, this study constructed four models that are best in describing the association between communication skills and the different types of pilot error. Significant correlations between different communication elements and different types of pilot errors were found. The strongest limitations of this study is the limited sample size and the statistical analysis that could have eliminated communication elements, which are better in describing the association between pilot errors and communication skills. Random variation in the data can cause this problem. The study can finally conclude that there do exist strong associations between communication skills and errors and that further research is necessary to investigate this phenomenon.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/64862
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