Aviation Safety Concerns for the Future

Brian E. Smith, Alfred L.C. Roelen, Rudi den Hertog


The Future Aviation Safety Team (FAST) is a multidisciplinary international group of aviation professionals that was established to identify possible future aviation safety hazards as undesirable consequences of changes. Since 2004, the FAST and its former members have been maintaining a catalogue of ‘Areas of Change’ (AoC) that could potentially influence aviation safety. The horizon for such changes is between 5 to 20 years. In this context, changes must be understood as broadly as possible. An AoC is a description of the change, not an identification of the hazards that result from the change. An analysis of the AoCs identified in 2004 demonstrates that changes catalogued many years ago, were directly evident in the majority of fatal aviation accidents over the past ten years. This ex-post-facto analysis of the AoCs identified in 2004 demonstrates that changes catalogued previously can provide an opportunity for predicting casual factors of future safety incidents. This paper presents an overview of the current AoC catalogue and a subsequent discussion of related aviation safety concerns. Interactions among these future changes may weaken critical functions that must be maintained to ensure safe operations. Safety assessments that do not appreciate or reflect the consequences of complexity due to such interactions will not be fully informative and can lead to inappropriate trade-offs and increases of other risks. The use of an “Areas of Change” concept permits a systematic analysis of ongoing and future phenomena that may interact with a technology or operational concept under study and generate unanticipated hazards.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jss.v2i2.10444


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Journal of Safety Studies ISSN 2377-3219

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