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Stress

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Article Information
Category: Human Behaviour Human Behaviour
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary

Description

Stress is a bodily response to a stimulus that disturbs or interferes with the “normal” physiological equilibrium of a person and, in the context of aviation, refers to a state of physical, mental or emotional strain due to some external or internal stimulus.

Understanding the factors that lead to stress, as well as how to cope with stressful situations, can greatly improve a individual's performance. Also, understanding that colleagues may react differently to the same stressor is important and can help you control a situation that can quickly get out of hand if an individual is having a negative reaction.

Accidents & Incidents

Events on the SKYbrary database which list stress as a significant contributory factor:

  • E50P, Berlin Schönefeld Germany, 2013 (On 15 February 2013, an Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 crew lost control of their aircraft shortly before touchdown at Berlin Schönefeld when it stalled and crash-landed. The Investigation was not completed for almost six years but concluded that the stall was a result of ice accretion during an approach in icing conditions without activation of the airframe de icing system. It found poor crew awareness of both the ice and stall protection systems and, suspecting that this may be true of other type-rated pilots, accordingly made Safety Recommendations to key regulatory authorities concerning the type rating syllabus.)
  • FA20, vicinity Narsarsuaq Greenland, 2001 (On 5 August 2001, a Dassault Falcon 20 with an inoperative GPWS making a night approach to Narsarsuaq by visual reference impacted terrain 4.5 nm from the aerodrome. The Investigation noted the original crew intention to fly a non-precision instrument approach and attributed the accident to the failure of the crew to follow applicable procedures or engage in meaningful CRM as well as to deficiencies in the Operator's required procedures which had combined to leave the crew vulnerable to a 'black hole' effect. The effects of fatigue were considered likely to have been contributory.)
  • B738 / F100, Geneva Switzerland, 2014 (On 31 March 2014, a Geneva TWR controller believed it was possible to clear a light aircraft for an intersection take off ahead of a Fokker 100 already lining up on the same runway at full length and gave that clearance with a Boeing 737-800 6nm from touchdown on the same runway. Concluding that intervention was not necessary despite the activation of loss of separation alerts, the controller allowed the 737 to continue, issuing a landing clearance whilst the F100 was still on the runway. Sixteen seconds later, the 737 touched down three seconds after the F100 had become airborne.)
  • A319, vicinity Zurich Switzerland, 2014 (On 17 October 2014, two recently type-qualified Airbus A319 pilots responded in a disorganised way after a sudden malfunction soon after take-off from Zurich required one engine to be shutdown. The return to land was flown manually and visually at an excessive airspeed and rate of descent with idle thrust on the remaining engine all the way to a touchdown which occurred without a landing clearance. The Investigation concluded that the poor performance of the pilots had been founded on a lack of prior analysis of the situation, poor CRM and non-compliance with system management and operational requirements.)
  • MD88, New York La Guardia USA, 2015 (On 5 March 2015 a Boeing MD88 veered off a snow-contaminated runway 13 at New York La Guardia soon after touchdown after the experienced flight crew applied excessive reverse thrust and thus compromised directional control due to rudder blanking, a known phenomenon affecting the aircraft type. The aircraft stopped partly outside the airport perimeter with the forward fuselage over water. In addition to identifying the main cause of the accident, the Investigation found that exposure to rudder blanking risks was still widespread. It also noted that the delayed evacuation was partly attributable to inadequate crew performance and related Company procedures.)

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Related OGHFA Situational Examples

Situational Example Flight Phase
De-icing and Latent Organisational Factors (OGHFA SE) Take Off
Disorientation During Vectored Go-Around (OGHFA SE) Missed Approach
Fuel Leak and Confirmation Bias (OGHFA SE) Climb, Cruise, Descent
Fuel Starvation, Stress, Fatigue and Nonstandard Phraseology (OGHFA SE) Cruise, Descent
Landing Gear Failure (OGHFA SE) Landing
Takeoff Weight Entry Error and Fatigue (OGHFA SE) Take Off
Unidentified Fire On Board (OGHFA SE) Cruise, Descent, Landing

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Further Reading

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