Multi-Mode Software

17 Dec 2004 - 7:57pm
9 years ago
1 reply
475 reads
Robert Cornejo
2004

In most cases a tool or function is unexpectedly no longer available to the user when an application switches modes. The AP has a story on the accidental F-16 strafing of a NJ children's school due to pilot error and confusing software. The pilot had over 2,000 hours of logged flight time, nearly half of that in the same type of Jet. There are other scattered reports of defense-related mishaps due to poor design.

Aside from PLGR and the Blue Force System are there examples of stand-out successes in defense, security or law enforcement?

"Pilot Error Blamed in N.J. School Shooting"

"In an F-16, the same trigger is used to produce a laser marker to focus on a target and to fire the gun in certain modes of operation."
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&e=20&u=/ap/school_strafed

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Comments

20 Dec 2004 - 8:37am
Gerard Torenvliet
2004

Robert asked:

> Aside from PLGR and the Blue Force System are there examples of stand-out successes in defense, security or law enforcement?

There are many human factors design success stories in defense.

During WWII, for some reason pilots were retracting their landing gear
instead of their flaps after landing an aircraft. This would cause the
plane to flop on its belly on the tarmac, an error that severely
damaged the plane and shut down the runway.

Alphonse Chapanis noticed that the switches for landing gear and flaps
were co-located on the flightdeck. Chapanis couldn't move the controls
(changes like that are extremely expensive), and instead shape-coded
the landing gear switch to look and feel like a wheel on a stick. The
error rate dropped to zero - not one error of that type again during
the way - and the design has persisted to modern aircraft.

Another success story that is defense-related: air travel - of all
kinds - has the lowest accident rate of any type of transportation.
This is due to a massive systems design effort, with much emphasis on
human factors issues, over the years.

Dig a little and you'll find many other such successes.

Regards,
-Gerard

BTW, I work with a number of retired air force pilots. In their mind,
the fact that a pilot could mistakenly activate a cannon should be
expected. The design problem was placing a children's school so close
to an air force exercise area.

--
Gerard Torenvliet
g.torenvliet at gmail.com

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