Project #6

Project #6

Human Performance Envelope

Type of Project

Collaborative Project


Building Ultra-resilient Systems and Operators

What is Project #6 about?

P6 on the “Human Performance Envelope” builds on a concept previously proposed in the ATM domain; it aims at defining and applying the Human Performance Envelope for cockpit operations and design, and determining methods to recover crew’s performance to the centre of the envelope, and consequently to augment this envelope, through HMI principles, procedures or training.

The Human Performance Envelope is to some extent a new paradigm in Human Factors. Rather than focusing on one or two individual factors (e.g. fatigue, situation awareness, etc.), it considers a range of common factors in accidents and maps how they work alone or in combination to lead to a performance decrement that could affect safety. The safe region on the envelope is bordered by markers, which can be measured and signalled, allowing the pilots to detect and recover, or enabling external agencies to prompt recovery, or allowing automation to kick in and take over. The Human Performance Envelope will deal with the most crucial people in the accident chain, giving them back-up when they most need it, assuring performance when things get difficult. It will increase safety by focusing on the sharp end of accidents, and consign the term ‘Pilot error’ to the waste paper bin.

P6 addresses Theme 3 “Building ultra-resilient systems and operators”, focussed on strengthening the resilience to deal with current and new risks of the humans and the organizations operating the air transport system. In particular, P6 is aimed at the Human Operator in the cockpit.

Project manager: DLR

P6 “Human Performance Envelope” is divided in 4 technical Work Packages.

WP6.1 – Concept Development

This Work Package establishes the Human Performance Envelope (HPE) that forms the basis for the subsequent tasks. The aim of this work is to establish the boundaries of the envelope, and define the operational scope of the following activities. In the WP, HPE critical situations in the cockpit will be also identified and operational scenarios will be developed.

WP6.2 – Exploratory simulations

In this Work Package the Human Performance Envelope is established in the operational environment of a research flight simulator for evaluation and validation tests, together with assessment of the technology and methods that can be applied to Human Performance evaluation.

WP6.3 – Determining recovery measures

Based on the results of the initial experimental evaluation in WP6.2 and the limitations identified in the background analysis of WP6.1, this Work Package aims to define the methods for recovering performance in an unexpected situation. This is done through the identification of markers to recognise when the Human Performance Envelope limitations are being approached, together with methods and principles to recover performance.

WP6.4 – Evaluation Solutions for Augmenting Envelope

The final Work Package takes the methods identified in WP6.3 and translates them into the operational environment of the cockpit., including the development of ways to augment the Human Performance Envelope. This is evaluated in a test environment, and culminates in the definition of future design concepts for cockpit design and operations.

The impact of “Human Performance Envelope” Project will primarily be through the improved design and operational practices in cockpit. The ultimate objective is to augment the Human Performance Envelope through Human Machine Interface (HMI) principles, innovative HMI design, automation concepts and flight crew monitoring solutions (with impact on procedures or training).

P6 is expected to produce/develop:

  • Guideline for HMI development taking into account one dedicated concept of automation;
  • General guidelines for Augmenting the Envelope;
  • Demonstrator (i.e. prototype with limited functionalities in an example scenario) of HPE monitoring and regulation solutions implemented in full mission simulators.
D6.1 Concept for Human Performance Envelope
D6.2 Test plan for preliminary systems/pilots cognitive task analysis
D6.3 Test report preliminary testing with system/pilots cognitive task analysis
D6.4a Recommendations recovery measures and HMI implementation (initial version)
D6.4b Recommendations recovery measures and HMI implementation (final version)
D6.5 Test plan large scale simulations with evaluation protocol
D6.6 Test report large scale simulations
D6.7 Recommendations for augmenting the Human Performance Envelope

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