Press Releases

Larsen, Graves Introduce Bill to Reinforce Human Factors in the Aircraft Certification Process

Washington, D.C., September 25, 2020
Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, and Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06), Ranking Member of the House Aviation Subcommittee, introduced the Human Factors Improvements to Aircraft Certification Act, bipartisan legislation to prioritize the consideration of human factors in the aircraft certification process and support pilots and flight crews as aviation technology advances.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, and Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06), Ranking Member of the House Aviation Subcommittee, introduced the Human Factors Improvements to Aircraft Certification Act, bipartisan legislation to prioritize the consideration of human factors in the aircraft certification process and support pilots and flight crews as aviation technology advances.

The bill’s introduction comes after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released its final report on the design, development and certification of the Boeing 737 MAX last week.

“Airplanes are changing rapidly, and the federal government is not keeping pace with those changes. Integrating human factors throughout the aircraft design and certification process will help address systemic issues with increasingly automated aviation systems,” said Larsen. “As the Committee learned in its investigation into the two 737 MAX crashes, the federal government and aviation industry must thoroughly consider human factors to ensure pilots and flight crews can do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

“The United States has the strongest aviation safety record in the world in part because of decades of bipartisan cooperation and coming together to make the system safer and better, and this legislation is a next step in that tradition,” said Graves. “By evaluating and adjusting our incorrect assumptions about how pilots interface with the flight controls in emergency situations and ensuring that more realistic assumptions about human factors are integrated into system design, we will raise the bar even higher on the safety of our aviation industry.”

The Human Factors Improvements to Aircraft Certification Act:

·       Requires the FAA to evaluate tools and methods to support integration of human factors into aircraft certification of flight deck/flight control systems for transport airplanes. The agency must also develop a framework to implement such tools and methods and report to Congress.

·       Directs the FAA to develop a human factors education program for relevant employees and other authorized representatives.

·       Directs transport airplane manufacturers to provide the FAA with information/findings on flight crew training to ensure it adequately includes consideration of human factors. Manufacturers must also identify the technical basis, justification and rationale for this information.

Since March 2019, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held five hearings and reviewed more than 500,000 pages of records related to the 737 MAX crashes. The bill reflects recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) and expert testimony from the Committee’s related hearings. The legislation is supported by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

“Ensuring the safety of the aircraft we manufacture is our industry’s top priority, and a strong aircraft certification process is critical to the process,” said Eric Fanning, President/CEO, AIA. “This bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Larsen and Graves will help improve the FAA’s analysis of the interaction of flight crews with the complex automation in modern airplanes and further strengthen aviation safety.”

“Ensuring that human factors are at the forefront of aircraft design, procedures development, and training is essential to the continued safety of our industry,” said Capt. Joe DePete, President, ALPA. “ALPA is grateful to Rep. Larsen for his continued dedication towards enhancing the safety and reliability of our air transport system.”

To read the Human Factors Improvements to Aircraft Certification Act, click here.

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