Many automated navigation and control systems have alarm systems that warn pilots about critical situations. However, laboratory studies have shown that unreliable alarm signals can lead to reduced alarm response frequency, slowed reaction times, reduced alarm reaction appropriateness and poor ongoing task performance. In this study, the number of flight events involving true, false and missed alarms within the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) database, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) database and the U.S. Army's Aviation Safety Database are reviewed. The results were separated by aircraft type, avionics, flight phase and specific problem. Approximately 1-3 percent of the overall events in the NTSB and the Army databases were alarm related, while the ASRS database included a considerably higher (27 percent) percentage of alarm-related events. The proportion of false alarms in the Army database was significantly greater than the other two databases. In all three databases, the proportion of false, missed and other alarm events was similar regardless of specific aircraft size and type. A majority of alarm problems occurred during high-workload segments of the flight. Since this research confirms that alarm system failure is a pervasive problem, it is recommended that aircraft designers reconsider what steps could be taken to mitigate the false alarms and ensure appropriate aircrew response.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Incorporated

    10 Industrial Avenue
    Mahwah, NJ  United States  07430-2262
  • Authors:
    • Bliss, J P
  • Publication Date: 2003


  • English

Media Info

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00960792
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 21 2003 12:00AM