CAA – Human factors and drone operations

Well done the CAA in the UK, they have released some advice to get drone drivers thinking. This really has been a missing piece neigh several pieces of RPAS operator training.

The role of Human Factors (HF) in aviation safety has been recognised and studied since the 1970s. How people behave under stress, when fatigued or impaired; the ease with which we can become distracted by – and sometimes fixated on – non-mission-critical events; the psychology of crew and team interactions; the risks of complacency that comes with familiarity. These are all now well understood by the commercial
and military aviation sectors.

As the RPAS industry in the UK continues to grow and develop, understanding our potential behaviours and reactions as remote pilots and observers is vital. Drones have advanced safety technology, including highly autonomous flight capabilities, object detection and avoidance, and emergency return features. Yet Mandatory Occurrence Reports (MOR) and Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) findings highlight
HF’s increasing role in drone incidents reported by approved operators. For example, 2021 data
shows that over 30% of reported loss of control (LOC) events were caused by human error – the
most reported factor.

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