Modernizing Flight Test Safety to Address Human Agency

Javorsek, II, Daniel
December 2016
ITEA Journal of Test & Evaluation;Dec2016, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p325
After a brief historical summary of worldwide and USAF fatal aircraft accidents, it has been demonstrated that in the modern era, human agency has been a dominant causal factor. This has led to an effective plateau in the mishap rate that seems unlikely to change unless we shift to better prepare for unpredictable events. The promising nascent field of Complexity Theory, which specifically focuses on adaptive systems such as those that include human agency, offers a fresh perspective on the inclusion of uncertainty. I suggest that this more probabilistic representation will help cultivate assertive skeptics within the flight test community, leading to the design of safer aerospace systems more robust to execution errors arising from human agency.


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