Exploring the effects of threat and error management on Australian general aviation

PhD Thesis


Lee, Seung Yong. 2018. Exploring the effects of threat and error management on Australian general aviation. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Exploring the effects of threat and error management on
Australian general aviation

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorLee, Seung Yong
SupervisorBates, Paul
Murray, Patrick
Kille, Tarryn
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages293
Year2018
Abstract

Since the emergence of Threat and Error Management (TEM), it has been well regarded as an effective method to improve aviation safety. International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) acknowledged the need for TEM training, and recommended that TEM be introduced to all pilot training syllabi. In response to ICAO’s endorsement on TEM training, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia mandated TEM as an additional assessment item for various levels of flight tests and ground examinations, effective from July 2009. Although it has been more than eight years since the implementation of TEM in Australian general aviation, there are, to date, no definitive data available to suggest whether implementation of TEM training has been well received, and whether a positive effect of such training has been witnessed, experienced and translated as intended in Australian general aviation. The purpose of this thesis was to fill this knowledge gap by conducting a formal postimplementation review and assessment of TEM by conducting three separate studies.

The first study was exploratory in nature, and was the first step in examining how TEM is regarded among Australian general aviation pilots in terms of its use and
effectiveness. A total of 59 general aviation pilots participated in a survey, and the results indicated a variable uptake of TEM principles, and differing opinions regarding its effectiveness. This warranted further study to be conducted in regard to TEM implementation and practice.

The second study was a qualitative (first) phase of mixed methods research approach using an exploratory sequential design. This two-phase design involved a collection of qualitative data followed by separately collecting quantitative data. The exploratory sequential design was preferred as there were a lack of definitive data and theory established after TEM was introduced in Australian general aviation. The study aimed to gather insights before and after TEM was implemented to enable appreciation as to how it was introduced and the effects of the use of TEM training. Five highly experienced flight examiners from Australian general aviation were interviewed. Based on thematic analysis, four themes arose from the interview data: impracticality, lack of support and guidance, TEM implementation and TEM in practice. The results indicated that all participants shared very similar or the same views that TEM was not implemented well because of seemingly impractical TEM principles and a lack of guidance and support. All participants collectively agreed that the first three themes would have adversely affected the way TEM was taught and practised in Australian general aviation.

Based on the above four themes, a survey was devised to verify and test hypotheses generated from the findings in Study 2, and this was the quantitative (second) phase of mixed methods sequential design. A total of 97 survey responses were analysed, and the majority of hypotheses based on Study 2 were supported. Based on structural equation modelling, it was found that both impracticality and a lack of guidance and support adversely affected the way TEM implementation was viewed, and the lack of guidance and support was also found to adversely affect how TEM was practised.

The collective findings suggested that TEM was poorly implemented in Australian general aviation. This would likely have caused negative views on the use of TEM
among general aviation pilots in Australia. However, the collective responses from Study 3 suggested that the survey participants highly valued and applied TEM principles when undertaking flying activities, and consequently considered TEM an important part of the flight preparation process. This is an encouraging finding because considering TEM principles and concepts prior to and during flying will further improve safety within general aviation in Australia.

Keywordsthreat and error management, aviation safety, Australian general aviation
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350901. Air transportation and freight services
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Commerce
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