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Aviation Insurer Announces Human Factors Research Collaboration

Posted on April 18th, 2008

The following is an excerpt from the April 11, 2008 Avemco Insurance Company press release distributed at Sun’n’Fun Fly-in, Lakeland Florida. The research portion of the press release follows:

“In keeping with our safety education objective we continue our support of the Airmanship Education Research Initiative, led by Dr. Bill Rhodes. This year, the research is moving into an active testing phase. We are pleased to welcome Cirrus Design, Advanced Aviation Simulators, Inc., of Denver, and the University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign in joining us to support this project.” Lauerman announced.

As the founding sponsor, Avemco provides financial and research support to the AERI. AERI’s multi-year research goal is aimed at studying the human causal factors associated with mishaps. The findings are expected to bring about significant improvement in the pilot-induced accident rate by introducing a new, empirically grounded approach to teaching airmanship based on precepts from the field of professional ethics. The AERI study will be detailing, by pilot in make and model, the characteristics and mental processes associated with pilot-induced accidents and comparing them to those demonstrated by expert airmen.

“There’s nothing more important to general aviation than educating pilots to be safer pilots. Our support of AERI is a new and exciting part of Cirrus Design’s training development future. AERI will help us discover human factors that separate the good pilots from those who need improvement. Go/nogo decision making and considerations along the way are about more than just equipment and technique – what pilots care about is also essential. We’re hoping to help uncover those and then expand educational efforts to improve them through the AERI initiative,” said Bill King Vice President of Business Administration for Cirrus Design.

Lauerman adds that the goal of this research project for Avemco is clearly a business one: determining characteristics and practices that are associated with accidents will help the company underwriting and pricing risks. The benefit for general aviation is a noble one: learning what mental processes to employ and/or avoid will make for better pilots and ultimately safer skies.

Dr. Alex Kirlik,
Human Factors Division
Phone: 217-244-8972