Fitts and Jones' Analysis of Pilot Error: 40 Years Later

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Find this in a Library

Catalog Record


The system for the classifiaction of pilot error developed from the error data collected from military pilots by Fitts and Jones (1947) is examined. The questions used by Fitts and Jones were adapted for comparing errors in aviation, operating an automobile, and operating computers. The error data from each of these sets were classified using the Fitts and Jones taxonomy. It is found that errors in reading and interpreting instruments does not generalize as well as the taxonomy for control errors. The control errors for automobiles and computers are very similar. It is concluded that, while the specific nature of errors may change, there may be a general basis for categorizing human error that generalizes across many levels of automation.


Presented at the Fifth International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, Columbus, OH, April 17-20, 1989.

Catalog Record