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Fratricide in Air Operations. Opening the Black-Box: Revealing the 'Social'

By Anthony Jurgis Masys


In a study of accidents among major air carriers, 88% of those involving human error could be attributed to problems with situation awareness (SA); similarly problems with SA were found to be the leading causal factor in a review of military aviation mishaps (Endsley, 1999). Studies of fratricide in air operations reflect similar issues pertaining to pilot error and situation awareness. It is argued in this thesis that pilot error is not an explanation but rather is something to be explained. Through an analysis facilitated by Actor Network Theory (ANT), the ‘black box’ of pilot error is examined revealing a de-centered accident aetiology residing within a network of heterogeneous elements characterized as the ‘hybrid collectif’ (Callon and Law, 1995). ANT is a theoretical perspective that has evolved to address the socio-technical domain. The black box associated with pilot/human error is the result of the\ud relationality that obscures the fact that the black box is dependent on the network of heterogeneous elements and alliances of which it is a part. Within the black box are the silenced, deleted voices associated with the accident aetiology that emerge as hardwired politics and illusions of certainty. We therefore must suspend our traditional conceptualization of causality and rethink its nature in terms of conditions of possibilities. Synthesizing and synergizing perspectives from Systems Theory, Actor Network Theory, and Complexity Theory, the findings are far reaching regarding our understanding of accident aetiology pertaining to fratricide in air operations and complex socio-technical systems

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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