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April 2006 edition

Human Factors in Civil Flight Deck Design

By Dr. Chris Hamblin

Edited by Don Harris

Ashgate Publishing

Price: £55

Being an aviation psychologist I own just about every book on aviation human factors. But this book, edited by Don Harris, may be one of the most useful and it will prove a good resource for anyone involved in the design of aircraft flight decks.

The authors include a mix of industry experts and academic researchers.

The result is a practical text that describes the design process of modern flight decks, the technologies onboard, and the Human Factors (HF) challenges involved.

The chapters are written in a way that makes them useful to the reader regardless of their role in the design process or their level of familiarity with HF principles. Aviation managers and engineers who are not familiar with HF can learn about its importance and how best to integrate it into the design process. And academics, typically removed from the design and certification processes, can become familiar with the considerations and constraints faced by the manufacturers.

Some topics typically are found in aviation human factors texts such as display design, and automation. But there are some atypical chapters including design processes and design evaluation. What makes this book unique is the applied nature of the chapters. Whereas most aviation human factors texts target an academic audience, this book does a good job of describing how HF research is being applied to improve the design and safety of aircraft cockpits.

The first two chapters examine the process of flight deck design from the manufacturers’ perspective and describe the roles that HF plays throughout the design process. These chapters are unique in that they accurately describe the design process of the entire cockpit (as opposed to individual technologies) and the critical role of HF engineers. Interestingly, Chapter 1 outlines Boeing’s process for flight deck design while Chapter 2 describes Airbus’ approach. This enables the reader directly to compare the design philosophies of the two manufacturers.

Chapters 4-10 cover individual aspects of cockpit design – such as cockpit displays, flight controls and automation – and the human factor considerations of each. The last three chapters describe how HF is employed to evaluate and validate cockpit designs during flight test and certification phases.

Overall the chapters are well written and adequately cover their respective topics with the exception of

Chapters 6 (Warning Systems) and 9 (Anthropometrics). These lack the depth of other chapters. Perhaps the only weakness of the book is its focus on the design of cockpits on large commercial aircraft. Most of the text remains applicable but the unique perspective of those involved in the design and validation of smaller cockpits, like those found in business jets and pistonpowered general aviation aircraft, are not covered.

To receive a 15% discount please quote reference code G05CF when placing your order to the contact details below. Gower Publishing Direct, Sales, Bookpoint limited, 130 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4SB, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0)1235 827730 Fax: +44 (0)1235 400454

Email: ashgate@bookpoint.co.uk


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