The Human Touch

Instructors from NATS have delivered a well-received course about Human Factors to members of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), further strengthening the relationship between NATS and CAAS whilst paving the way for future work together.

The two-week course targeted 24 managers from the Safety, Aeronautical Telecommunication and Engineering, Airport Navigation Service Standards, Incident Investigation and Air Traffic Control  Operations departments.

Identifying the Human Factors

Drawing upon NATS’ expertise and experience in the application and delivery of Human Factors methods within the Air Traffic Management domain, the course participants developed a deeper understanding of the following:

  • The theory behind the key ‘Human Factors’ in Air Traffic Management.
  • How the discipline of Human Factors influences safety, daily operations, system design and the training and competency of operational staff.
  • The ability to identify human-related safety risks within operations and the related mitigation strategies.
  • How the analysis of human risk contributes to the production of a Safety Case.
  • A hands-on application of Human Factors techniques and methods.
  • The opportunity to practically consider the impact Human Factors have on an operational ATM system and how to apply their knowledge within the scope of the Singapore Air Traffic Control function.

The instructors placed an emphasis on the practical application of Human Factors theory in light of the CAAS’ imminent transition to the LORADS III Air Traffic Control system, supplied by Thales to accommodate the predicted increase in air traffic over the next few decades.

Developing Detailed Action Plans

The course led to participants identifying Human Factors issues within their areas of responsibility and developing detailed action plans to enable identified issues to be managed, controlled or eliminated.

As a result, three action plans were developed under the close supervision of the course instructors. These were presented to Mr SOH Poh Theen, Assistant Director General, ANS on the last day of the course.

Cementing the Relationship

The instructors received excellent feedback at the end of the sessions, with the CAAS Safety Office expressing an interest in further Human Factors Courses to target other CAAS managers.

Peter Rabot, Head ANS Safety Officer for the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said,

“We had a great course here in Singapore. All of us found it very useful and timely given that our transition to our new system is just round the corner. We certainly gained from the training and are clearer as to where to focus our priorities in the near and distant future. The instructors did a marvellous job and were willing to do quite a bit of chopping and adapting of the planned syllabus to meet the needs of the participants. I am looking forward to running this and other programmes with NATS in the near future”.

This course, together with other contracts in the region, has further strengthened the great relationship enjoyed by CAAS and NATS, which has continued to develop following the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) in 2012. The MoC set out a collaborative framework to address air traffic management challenges; facilitating an exchange of ideas and experiences as well as developing and implementing new initiatives.

Further collaboration and projects are expected in the future, with NATS committed to working closely with the CAAS.

The Customised Human Factors Course  was delivered by Branka Subotic (NATS Consultancy) and Irene Low (Human Performance Engineering) at the Singapore Aviation Academy earlier this year. The course material was developed by Branka Subotic and the NATS Human Factors Team. The NATS Human Factors team is in the process of applying for accreditation of this course by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

To find out more about how Human Factors training would benefit your organisation, please contact Branka Subotic, Senior Consultant at NATS.


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