By building upon a number of accident reports and on cognitive psychology literature, this paper addresses the effect of stress on the reasoning abilities and on the perceptual processes of pilots. We examine several cases, including American Airlines 587 (New York, 2001), United Airlines 173 (Portland, 1978), KLM 4508 (Tenerife, 1977), Northwest Airlines 6231(Thiells NY, 1974), and Eastern Airlines 401 (Everglades, 1972), in which pilots have, or may have, contributed to an accident by incorrectly interpreting the unfolding scenario, and specifically by disregarding alternative interpretations of the unfolding scenario. While current research efforts have yet to provide guidance on how to successfully handle the problems discussed in this paper, examination of prior accidents may shed some light on the issue.
Bell, M. A.,
Facci, E. L.,
& Nayeem, R. V.
(2005). Cognitive Tunneling, Aircraft-Pilot Coupling Design Issues and Scenario Interpretation Under Stress in Recent Airline Accidents. 2005 International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 45-49.