American Airlines Flight 1420 Case Study

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American Airlines Flight 1420:
Errors in Decision-Making and Situational Awareness
Mariah Cann
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

This case study will focus on the human factor errors involved in American Airlines Flight 1420 and organizational shortcomings by American Airlines and their policies. By using the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System model (HFAC), key human factor failures can be identified. HFACs is used to identify the probable causes of accidents by laying a valid framework to investigators analyzing aviation accidents. The two human factor errors that contributed to the accident were fatigue and situational stress. The organizational failures may not stand out to untrained bystanders. These organizational failures must be identified because, even though they may not be easily recognized, the failures of an organization’s oversite can lead to other human errors. When human factors and organizational failures happen at the same time, these types of events are likely to occur. This study will review these failures, and present recommendations by the National Transportation Safety
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“The aircraft crashed after it overran the end of the runway 4R during landing (National Transportation Safety Board, 2001).” The probable cause of the accident was aircrew fatigue and situational awareness. Out of 145 people aboard the aircraft, 10 were killed in the accident including the captain. During the crash the airplane “passed through a chain link security fence and over a rock embankment to a flood plain (National Transportation Safety Board, 2001).” The aircraft was demolished due to impact as well as fire. The National Transportation Safety Board believes the probable cause of the accident was due to the crew being fatigued as well due to the inability of situational awareness while landing under unfavorable weather

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