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HERA: Human Error in ATM

Human Error in ATM

Safety is at the heart of the aviation system and, for years to come, human beings will remain its core element. Visible human errors are only the tip of the iceberg, there are many more beneath the water. It is a truism that incidents tend to be the result of a chain of causal/contributory events. Looking at these chains of events makes it possible to consider the whole system, not just the individual. The human factor input/involvement is of value because it is one of the ways in which the scope of error causation can be extended from the so-called ‘person at the sharp end’ to the wider organisational aspects.

HERA, by refining our understanding of errors and their associated contextual conditions, will contribute to a safer ATM system.


The Human Error in European Air Traffic Management (HERA) is a EUROCONTROL project dedicated to the human factors perspective in incident/accident investigation, safety management and prediction of potential new forms of errors arising from new technology.

In aviation, as in any industry, statistics indicate that human error is a contributing factor of the majority of incidents and accidents. As such, Human error is seen as a potential weak link in the ATM system and, therefore, measures must be taken to prevent errors and their impact, and to maximise other human qualities such as error detection and recovery.

What it does

The HERA Project has developed tools and methods for the prediction, detection and management of human error in ATM.

Who it is for

The tools and methods are dedicated to incident investigators, safety managers and; human factor specialists and engineers involved in the development of new ATM concepts or technology

Further Reading