A notice of proposed amendment (NPA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) introduces specific provisions into small and large rotorcraft certification specifications to ensure that human factors are systematically taken into account during the design and approval processes of rotorcraft flight decks. Such provisions were introduced into the certification specifications for large airplanes a dozen years ago, EASA said.
Additionally, new generations of rotorcraft are characterized by having a high level of integration of avionics, displays, controls, and automation. “It is also likely that future rotorcraft projects, embodying, for instance, fly-by-wire technology flight controls that include enhanced piloting control laws, will pose new and additional challenges from a human factors perspective,” said EASA.
Regarding those accidents or incidents for which human factor shortfalls in the design of rotorcraft were considered to be the root cause, EASA said it is “expected that the proposed new certification specifications will help to significantly reduce the probability of such accidents occurring.”
For other accidents or incidents in which human factor shortfalls in the design of rotorcraft have been identified as a contributing factor, it is “expected that there will be a significant positive impact on safety. In fact, an improved crew workstation design that is optimized for human factors will contribute to reducing the crew’s workload and increasing the crew’s situational awareness.” EASA estimated that these benefits could reduce the number of incidents and accidents by between 10 and 20 percent.
Comments on the NPA are due on January 8.