Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Activity 2.7

Case Analysis: Human Factors The human Element
Dustin T Roybal
03 November 2013
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University


Unmanned Aerospace Systems (UAS) are highly advanced technological systems, UASs are remotely piloted, with some basic autonomous functions.  In the future, it may be possible that UASs will become completely autonomous vehicles, but until then the human pilot must remain a part of the overall system.  Since UASs require the constant attention of the pilots, who must keep a hand on the controls at all times and who are removed from the aircraft itself, this leaves a large opening for error.  With the pilot removed from the cockpit, the pilot must rely solely on the aircraft sensors.  This limits the pilot’s abilities greatly: the pilot no longer has the natural ability to detect change in velocity, pitch, roll and yaw of the aircraft.  For this reason and due to the high stakes involved with Unmanned Vehicles, the operators must undergo constant training to minimize mistakes leading to the loss of aircraft and possibly life should a drone flying in national airspace crash on civilian populated areas or accidently strike civilian targets in military operations.  

M1 UAS Current Event Analysis

M1 UAS Current Event Analysis
            According to research that had been conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that 70-80% of aviation accidents have a direct casual factor from the human element (Williams, 2004).  The United States Army had conducted a study involving a total of 56 unmanned aerial vehicles, at the conclusion of this study it was determined that 32% of incidents were caused due to human error (Williams, 2004).  Human error was broken down into a variety of causal factors, the separated error causal factors were:  Pilot-in-command, alerts and alarms, display design, external pilot landing error, external pilot takeoff error and procedural errors.  Out of all the areas of human errors, the highest casual facture was external pilot landing error at 47% of the human element.  Followed by external pilot takeoff error and procedural errors sitting around 20% of the human error total (Williams, 2004)
            Similarly as unmanned aerospace systems are becoming more abundant so have UAV involved accidents.  UAV involved incidents have been significantly higher than that of manned aircraft (Alan Hobbs, 2006).  Unmanned military surveillance aircraft losses has been more than 10 times than that of manned aircraft (Alan Hobbs, 2006).  A study conducted in 2004 on UAVs reported that maintenance factors involved anywhere from 2-17% of the reported accidents varying only by the type of UAVs involved (Williams, 2004)(Williams, 2004) Also determined that 32% of UAV accidents involved human error, while 45% involved material failure. 
            While UAVs will undoubtedly be the preferred choice of tomorrow’s operation, there are many factors to work out.  New rules and regulations must be implemented and new safety requirements and procedures must be created.  It is much more difficult piloting an unmanned aircraft from a remote control center than it is to fly a manned aircraft.  Therefore standards and regulations for unmanned flight within U.S. Airspace must focus particularly on the human factors within UAV operations (Jason S. McCarley).


Alan Hobbs, P. S. (2006). Human Challenges in the Maintenance of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Moffett Field: NASA Research Park.
Jason S. McCarley, C. D. (n.d.). Human Factors Concerns in UAV Flight. Illinois: University of Illinois.
Williams, K. W. (2004). A Summary of Unmanned Aircraft Accident/Incident Data: Human Factors Implications. Washington D.C.: ADOT/FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine.


I served 6 years in the US Marines serving in the Infantry as well as in the communications field.  While in the Infantry I served in Kawait & Iraq during OIF.  I served out of the JOTF HOA base in Africa for OEF.  While there I served in the QRF for the Embassy protected US asset Ships traveling through the water way, patrolled Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen, Ethiopia and Kenya.  After these deployments, I served in the communications field working with Radio, Multi-Channel Radio, Telephone, Data and Satellite Communications technology.   I currently work for the Department of the Navy at the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake.  I work in the Labs for the F/A-18 & EA-18G Advanced Weapons Laboratory.  I got this job because of my background with computers.  I have been working on computers since I was a child, at age 9 I was taught by NOVELL Certified Technicians.  I started working with MS DOS when I was about 5.  I have a long history of IT Administration.  I have worked both in IT Administration as well as IT Security.  With this position, I keep the systems secure and functional and have picked up much in the Avionics field.  For my future goals, I very much would enjoy getting into Unmanned Aerospace Systems, specifically in astronautics.  I would enjoy working with Space borne remote sensing technology.