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Aviation Security

Free Informative Essays

Overall Analysis of Technological Expansion of Aviation

Technology is an important element of the contemporary society. Lack of technological advancement can lead to the difficulties in achieving various engineering goals, which are essential in aviation and architecture. Furthermore, the power of technology can be employed in entertainment, transportation, education, communication, and even travelling. Technology has become an integral part of individual identity, allowing people to differentiate the modern world from the one that existed several decades or even hundred years ago. Currently, most of security framework, both in a real environment and in cyberspace, relies predominantly on technology, paying less attention to the qualification and competence of the personnel. Similar concerns relate to the aviation field, in which the staff members experience significant problems because of lack of knowledge and competence.

The negative influence of various technologies creates serious challenges because some of the airline companies are over-reliant on them in order to solve problems. The challenge of dependence on these technologies should be considered to define further steps in managing those technical devices. Therefore, constant deployment of technologies can lead to new obstacles and problems (Johnson & Wetmore, 2008). In the sphere of aviation, the role of technology is underscored, but the role of human resource should not be underestimated because all technological designs and gadgets should be adjusted to human characteristics. These strategies have also been employed several decades ago, as it is presented in the studies by Weber (1997). In particular, the scholar proves physical differences of aircraft design development from human operations. In order to involve the user into the technical design practices, the attention should be paid to the concepts of anthropometrics and ergonomics.

The latter, which is also called “human factor”, focuses on human characteristics, behaviors, and expectations, which are used in the design. During the World War II, the human factors approach has been transformed into a discipline, which was practiced in the U.S. military activities. Ergonomic theories and frameworks were introduced when it became evident that more complicated new types of military equipment could not be operated effectively by well-trained personnel because neither of individual characteristics was taken into consideration. In its turn, anthropometrics introduces measurement of aspects of the human body physical characteristics, including age, gender, ethnic affiliation, and occupation. The anthropometric approach is essential because it emphasizes the role of the stuff in controlling and managing technological devices. The necessary accommodations could also improve the quality and effectiveness of work. Otherwise, lack of adjustments and accommodations could create a serious challenge for the individual to control the technological design.

The problems with the accurate and consistent implementation of technology lies in the challenges related to the effective decision-making process. Specifically, it involves the most common biases related to the creation of mental shortcuts and heuristics. Additionally, the reliance on cultural influences and pre-formulated concepts has often caused inaccurate estimations in intelligence operations. One category of heuristics is associated with representative heuristics. In fact, the cognitive biases are aimed at differentiating the gap because of stereotyping. The latter is an acknowledged tendency to assign certain features to individuals in accordance with their physical appearance or behavior. However, the danger of stereotyping could lead to misconceptions in interaction that in turn can impose bias in the technological design accuracy. The airport personnel should also pay attention to this issue because its security is not only confined to effective technical safety. As an example, Welch (2012) explains that the airport security staff can take the individual into custody and put him/her under surveillance because of the stereotype that a person wearing suit and carrying a suitcase would probably have explosives in it. Reliance on such stereotypes can create cognitive biases and distract the security personnel from the potential terrorists.

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Self-surveillance is also among the most common cognitive biases, which are typical of individuals who want to be responsible for successful operations rather than for failed ones. Welch (2012) gives an example of President Obama taking credit, releasing himself from the responsibility imposed for the losses in Benghazi, Libya. Therefore, cognitive biases can take place from the outside, whereas external ones influence internal perception, where an individual resorts to his/her own subjective outlook regarding certain issue or situation.

Case Study Analysis

The above-presented discussion proves that the social cognitive biases along with gender challenges play an important role in making decisions while screening luggage at airports. Specifically, the research study by Madhavan and Brown (2010) focuses on the analysis of such characteristics as social and cognitive effectiveness of the screening technology. The participants carried out a computer-simulated task and performed the function of luggage screeners to detect hidden weapons. They had the opportunity to scan the luggage for three seconds, which contributed to time pressure and the ability to make simultaneous decisions. Such an approach was helpful in understanding the essential role of people in exploiting screening devices. Additionally, Chow, Yortsos, and Meshkati (2014) have also explored human-related factors in navigating systems of the cockpit design. The article also emphasizes the important role of cockpit automation, as well as cultural factors and their influence on flight crew productivity, performance, safety, and communication. In the report, the scholars chose Boeing 777 – Asiana Airlines Flight to explore the challenges of auto-throttle systems. The researchers also review the important role of cultural aspects in managing aviation safety and provide a succinct analysis of other related accidents. Automation progression has been introduced for designing an error-free deck. At the same time, the pilot will have to comprehend each stage and automation of the flight deck; alternatively, if pilots are insufficiently competent in automation, the slightest error can cause lethal outcomes. What is more important, these engineering designs are greatly influenced by communication, design, and cultural factors that predetermine pilot performance. It has been reported that aviation designers should promote strategic efforts in cooperation with regulatory bodies and pilots. There should be improvements in the sphere of human factors, cockpit automation and cultural issues, including social interactions and communication.

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The case with Asiana Airlines Flight is explored due to the over-reliance on autopilot, leading to the lethal outcomes. The case shows the consequences of using automated techniques for landing the plane. The problem is that Asiana Flight 214 setting out from Seoul was too low and slow, leading to the crash of the plane tail, causing fire, injury of 180 people and 3 deaths. Although there is no evidence related to the mechanical failure of the Boeing 777, the plane had never been involved into accidents (Smith, 2013). Nonetheless, the investigators paid more attention to the possibility of pilot’s guilt in the failure to handle the automated control during the final stage of landing. However, Asiana withdraws the possibility of pilot’s incompetence or lack of experience, stating that the crash was due to the technical problems (Smith, 2013). Nonetheless, the case caused much criticism regarding pilot’s extreme dependence on automated systems, decreasing their skills, experience, and competence. Although the airlines rejected to comment on the issue, the current NTSB agenda includes new pilot training programs along with new aviation safety strategies. The reform also involves academic researchers who studied pilot interaction with the automated controls. Although the automated systems have proved to be accurate and secure, the programs still advise pilots to use manual control before the aircraft starts landing.

The technical report conducted by Reverley, Withrow, Leone, and Jones (2014) focuses on the analysis of compositional verification and aviation safety risk rate. Software verification has also been described to define two major problems. The first one involves testing of the technology at a prototype level, where error detection cannot be a cost-effective problem. The second one includes testing all possible interactions with some errors left undetected until it is used by the end-client. Due to the obvious advances in the sphere of aviation, these systems are not effective enough for checking and verifying their operations. Therefore, a review of compositional verification should be conducted to define various aviation safety risks, which can be affected by compositional verification. The risks have been grouped into five major categories, such as flight control, system complexity, automation design, software, new technology operations, validation, and verification. The risk division into categories significantly simplifies the verification process, as well as improves the quality and effectiveness of automated systems.

Rationale for Introducing Training Programs for the Aircraft Crew

Certainly, reliance on technology is not justified, but lack of competence and skills among pilots and flight crew is even a more serious issue. In this respect, the task of the security agents is to explore the major gaps and define the recommendation that would improve the work of the personnel. The extreme reliance on automated mechanism can deprive the pilots and flight crew of the higher attention and readiness for critical situations. Therefore, both the pilot and the staff should be trained to operate crafts manually. The aircraft should also be equipped for the crew to be able to enact the manual systems. Additionally, the airport personnel should also be ready to ensure the manual system works effectively. Cleary and Dolbeer (2005) have conducted their research to define how the airport personnel should handle people from different social, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. There should also be people who could be ready to assist passengers with disabilities who require alternative means of communication. This group of passengers should be approached individually when it concerns safety measures. Therefore, the researchers insist on the necessity of introducing new communication and interaction system that would contribute to the staff readiness to act without automated devices. It is also highly necessary to introduce the reporting system, which should ensure reliability and safety of interaction. This decision proposed by Frederickson and LaPorte (2002) focuses on the airport security and rationality problem. Specifically, the research connects their findings with the 9/11 events to define the necessity to introduce the high-reliability organization that would contribute to the development of airport security activities. The current decision-making theory is premised on the rationality issue, as well as on the analysis of error-tolerant organizations. The concept is concerned with the sustained performance, regular training, technical competence, and decentralized authority. Human resource management is also the key to aviation security advancement and testing procedures arrangement. Lack of control and monitoring, as well as inability to use the system manually, can increase the risk of lethal outcomes. Therefore, the concepts are essential for management and engagement in the transportation issue.

In response to the current cases and accidents due to the over-reliance on technology, the United States should introduce new regulations that will solve the problem and increase the validity of the risk assumptions. Determination of the validity and risks levels can define the accuracy level of the evaluation procedures. Further, the inadequacy and subjectivity in measuring the technology capabilities and strategies can create serious problems. Although there are programs and strategies for screening and detecting explosives, specialized programs should also be developed in order for the staff not to be misguided by the previously created stereotypes. The manual procedures should also involve the checking procedures, emphasizing the role of checking passenger’s individual data, including name and purpose of flight. Checking baggage for explosives, as well as handling systems for screening baggage are also essential. However, technology screening provides only half of the success because the check assistant should also be attentive and competent while checking the passengers. This part of the responsibility is also decisive in managing the safety and security of the entire board. The case under analysis shows that the flight crew should also be tested constantly for the flight readiness, including their competences in handling the plane manually.

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Emotional stance is an important element in managing human resources because it has a direct influence on the level of security at the airport and during the flight. In this respect, Redden (2013) focuses on the emotion management, which can influence the travel experience. By employing ethnographic observation and interviews, it is possible to define how people can expand their knowledge on security issues. In order to reduce the risk of disaster and enhance the passenger’s readiness, each client should be endowed with a unique kind of emotion management that can affect the entire travel experience. The security queues could serve for managing emotional responses, as well as for shaping interactions with others. While managing these exercises, the emphasis has been placed on the nature of emotions and the way they affect people’s travel experience in this context. Communication skills should also be assessed to manage the outcomes of emotion management for organizations and passengers. The study introduces a new paradigm in emotion management, and a valuable addition to the security mechanisms in the sphere of aviation. The emotional dimension plays an important role because it activates survival mechanism and allows the flight crew to evaluate the level of the passenger’s flight readiness. Such mechanisms would be helpful for the clients to recognize their problems and understand what should be done to minimize their emotional and psychological concerns and fears.

Recommendation for Improving Aviation Security

As it has been mentioned, the aviation security suffers significant problems because of the over-reliance on technological devices and automated mechanisms. This particularly concerns autopilots, which deprive pilots of their experience, skills, and competence in managing the flight manually. In order to prevent the lethal outcomes, as it has been presented in the case with Asiana Flight 214, the new free-fold strategy should be introduced to reduce the risk level. The strategy will be composed of three major areas to be covered, namely airlines, airports, and administration, which should cooperate and interact for the purpose of enhancing safety and security of passengers. The administration should initially take responsibility for making policies, identifying and evaluating threats, releasing and reinforcing regulations, and inspecting the programs for compliance with the established approaches. Further, the administration should also work on approving security programs and plans, and providing operational directions to introduce the corresponding changes.

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The airlines should work on the technology development, involving human-related factors confined to ergonomic devices. In particular, they should work on developing passengers and baggage screening, cargos and baggage protection, and, finally, aircraft security. The third dimension – airport – should also adhere to a set of duties and responsibilities. In particular, they should work on protecting air-operational dimension, providing operational access control, and introducing law enforcement support. The disposure of explosive substance is also imposed on airports because the second level of defense should exclude any risk of exposure. As it has been presented, each sphere should perform all responsibilities and functions consistently to avoid risky situations. There are also external organizations that work on managing and detecting explosives, as well as developing security plans in accordance with the international standards. The US airports should also introduce Homeland Security framework to reduce the possibility of terrorist attacks, not being confined to stereotyping since objective vision is the key to the effective and accurate management of the security plan (See Appendix 1).

The emotional aspect should also be handled. In this respect, each passenger should go through the checking test that would evaluate passengers’ psychological and emotional state to define what measures should be taken to minimize the stress. In fact, working with passengers is essential because it defines the level of their engagement in cooperative work with the flight crew. It can also evaluate the level of their readiness to face the critical situation. The flight crew should also be tested for emotional stability to guarantee the rationality of their decisions during the flight. The flight crew should also be trained and tested for proficiency in automated and manual systems implementation. The pilots should regularly be checked for their competence and knowledge of safety system and evaluation plans.

The management of training programs should not be confined to single cases of accidents during flights. The government should develop a systematic program aimed at provision of universal mechanisms for managing critical situations. In particular, the attention should be paid to the analysis of such techniques as pilot’s skills level assessment, personnel competence, behavioral management, emotional management, and resistance to stress. One of the most important tasks of the government is to replace its practices with more consistent approaches to reduce the risk of disaster. Its main idea is that in case aviation security approaches remain too reactionary and broad, there is always the threat that terrorists can sue this approach. Terrorists can also make reactionary response by spreading misinformation regarding the targets. Although some of the strategies and policies developed can be of universal nature, they should also be adaptive to support plans and documents. The terrorist tactics should introduce supporting and auxiliary programs to be able to adjust quickly to the national strategy and react to all unexpected risks.

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Finally, the Administration and the Congress should be interested in evaluating how supporting plans and national strategy can comply with the budgetary capacity, resources availability, and human resources management. These aspects are the key elements of the modern strategy, calling for significant expansion of the roles and responsibilities assigned to the security managers. For instance, the task of the personnel is to carry our behavioral observations both at and beyond the airport in terms of budget capacity and priority of the resources used. In this respect, the task of Congress is to reconsider the possible initiatives and make the corresponding modifications to the U.S aviation security in terms of the national strategy. The reporting system can also be enhanced to make the interaction between administration, staff, and airport more effective. The technical support should not be underestimated either because it serves as an additional contribution to manual operation performance. The task of the training program is to make the pilot crew and the flight crew understand the balance required to be maintained between automated techniques and competence in handling the systems manually. In such a way, the programs can allow the manager to reduce the risk of lethal outcomes.


The case with the Asiana Flight 214 has revealed significant obstacles for pilots to use personal knowledge and competence in managing flights manually. According to the expert assessment, the manual operation of planes will significantly reduce the level of accidents, particularly during landing. Over-reliance on technology and automated mechanisms can lead to hazards and inability of the personnel to respond to the threat immediately. The emotional, cognitive, and behavioral dimensions should also be considered for the personnel to understand how an appropriate training can improve the overall readiness of the flight crew. In addition to the personnel training, the attention should also be paid to the passengers who have to be constantly checked for their emotional and psychological stability, as well as for their readiness to act in critical situations.

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Current addiction to technologies and modern gadgets devaluate the importance of human factors in managing those devices. Therefore, the current designs of aircrafts should not exclude the ergonomic design. Conformity with human characteristics, such as physical appearance, gender, age, and psychological state should be primarily taken into consideration in order for the personnel to be able to manage those characteristics effectively. Pilots should also regard these issues while choosing gadgets and expanding their knowledge on novelties in the sphere of technologies. Therefore, the anthropocentric approach should be the leading one, regulating the new schemes and software programs.

The government should make enormous efforts in order to integrate those reforms and provide financial support. It should also take control of the financial issues and availability of resources for these programs. Apart from the manual testing programs, all pilots and airport workers should be able to recognize terrorists and potential threats of explosives emergence at the aircraft. In these situations, they should not be guided by the stereotypes, but by the objective observation during screening and testing.

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