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Human Factors in System Life Cycle Development

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Human Factors in System Life Cycle Development.

Human factors like reliability and maintainability must be considered throughout the systems engineering process starting at the conceptual design phase. Requirements pertaining to the human must be identified and factored in the development of a system operation requirements and maintenance concept. Functions and task performed by the human must be identified. The system design should take into account such things as how the human operates the system, some examples are; can the operator reach all the controls from the designed operator position, can they see all indications and functional controls.

Taking into account human factors helps control risks and prevent accidents, incidents, injuries, equipment damage, and even death. Humans cannot rely solely on systems and technology to achieve their objectives. In a complex system like an aircraft, the human operator; the pilot or maintenance technician plays a critical role operating the aircraft systems and sub-systems. Designing a system around this role requires human operational requirements to be thought out during the design.

All human made system require some sort of human input whether it is something as simple as an on/off switch to something as sophisticated as flying an aircraft. Human factors taken into account during design will strengthen the operational capabilities and safety of the system which will ultimately lead to a longer life cycle for the system. A system is only as strong as the human operating it. Human factor considerations during design make them more effective. An example of not taking human factors into account during design of an aircraft would be if the landing gear and ejection seat handles were designed to look exactly the same and located next to each other in the cockpit. The human would just as likely pull the ejection seat handle as he/she would the landing gear handle on final approach due to other distractions there might be in the cockpit such as talking on the radio or looking for other air traffic. Design them differently and locate in opposite sides of the cockpit, this would more than likely eliminate the human factor in pulling the wrong handle and causing an accident.

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