ICAO Guidance Manual 9683 describes Human
Factors as the intersection between at least thirteen
ICAO Guidance Manual 9683 describes Human Factors as the intersection between at least thirteen disciplines ranging from physchology, medicine, and engineering to education, mathematics and industrial design. Although not specifically mentioned in that text, communications, language, and culture are universally acknowledged as important elements in aviation safety. In many human factors texts, researchers acknowledge the importance of communication in aviation, and call for more research.
A 2002 study of "Using Language in the Cockpit, " by Robert Helmreich and Brian Sexton, notes that, "Historically, the role of language use in communication processes has been neglected," and that "Cockpit communication is a rich area of study for language investigators, and it has been relatively underresearched given the critical role it plays in flight safety."
That observation is as true today as it was in 2002.
A 2013 review of thirty years of Human Factors literature (including ICAO and industry safety group documents and manuals, human factors textbooks, and related safety, CRM or accident investigation, documents) finds that while communications are nearly universally acknowledged to be fundamental to human factors, the role of language as the primary factor that makes communication possible is often only scantily addressed. Read more.
Language is beguilingly complex, far more complex than our ease of daily use suggests. The LHUFT Center aims to support Helmreich's and others' repeated calls for a better understanding of language use in all aspects of aviation communications.
The LHUFT Center fosters improved collaboration between language specialist and operational experts, links researchers to previous studies, and provides a clearinghouse of information about language in aviation.
The LHUFT Center website is a work-in-progress. We welcome contributions. Contact us to provide links to your work.
Interest in Human Factors as a specialized area of study in aviation has existed since the earliest efforts at flight considered the size, weight, and physical capabilities of the human bodies that the daring early visionaries were attempting to lift into the air. The 1976 Istanbul IATA Conference is often cited as the organizing event for Human Factors in Aviation as a specialized discipline.