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My paper on Fatigue and Human Factors


csw1000
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I have a paper due for a flight physiology class this Friday, Aug. 6. It pertains to fatigue and its influence on human factors in aviation and flight safety. It is by no means a comprehensive work nor does it need to be (I only have 9 pages to work with after all); it just needs to be accurate and relevant. I was hoping a couple of you cats were looking for some help sleeping (and dealing with fatigue) and wouldn't mind offering some constructive criticism. Thanks in advance, Chad.

Fatigue and Human Factors.doc

Edited by csw1000
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Very good paper csw. I like the examples you have given and the real world aspects of fatigue and how it affects us in a day to day environment outside of aviation. You have covered the aviation part well with the examples.

 

One thing that I didn't notice (I did scan pretty quick as it is late) is a mention of the two types of fatigue, chronic and acute. Maybe you could explain each one and how to overcome it.

 

Acute is basically caused by lack of sleep on a night or two and overcome by rest. Usually a good night sleep. Chronic fatigue is more serious and may be caused by insomnia, illness, etc. It is more long term and you usually need time off or a good vacation to overcome it, not just a nights sleep. Hope this makes sense, as I said it is late.

 

Best of luck.

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There are three types actually, the last is mental exhaustion or "burnout". If you live with chronic fatigue long enough you will reach a point where you can no longer function in your job or socially, you just shut down.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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True. It is called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

 

“Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” is a newly established name for a syndrome that causes the body to become severely fatigued, and remain so for a long time. It is a compounded health problem that takes normal fatigue, and then adds in a viral infection to greatly multiply the already stressful chronic fatigue problem. What is actually fatigued is the immune system. Examples of the culprit viruses are Mononucleosis or a Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus infection. This is called a syndrome instead of a disease because medically an absolute and conclusive cause cannot be identified.

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All in all, it's a good paper. I would work on your opening paragraph though. While it's important to draw the reader in, it felt far too informal for the type of paper that was written.

 

I also noticed you left out stress as a contributing factor. As pilots, we deal with stressful situations much of the time. These can compound and cause fatigue. If you have space, i would also focus on helicopter pilots. You seem to focus on airline pilots, and their work schedules leading to fatigue. Helicopter pilots may not cross time zones and become jet lagged, but our work often conflicts with the availability of rest.

 

Also, on page 3, "26nautical" needs a space....

 

Thats all i can think of. Its late and im tired....

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If you have the time then I would:

 

Include information from scholarly journal articles. Aviation specific journals include The International Journal of Aviation Psychology and Aviation Space and Environment Medicine. Moreover, there is a plethora of occupational safety journals dealing with fatigue.

 

If you wanted to cover fatigue as it relates to helicopter pilots then all the aircraft’s movements, vibration, and cockpit noise are intriguing subjects. Visual disturbances caused by rotor design would be an interesting topic as it relates to pilot fatigue.

 

I would leave out personal stories and just stick to the facts:

 

As I talk to my brother on the phone, I can hear his two day old son crying in the back ground. “He’s tired, it’s time for his nap”, my brother says, “and for mine, he had me and Jennifer up all night!” I chuckle under my breath as I hang up the phone. As the father of four children myself, I know all too well how my brother feels.

 

Good luck with your paper!

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Thanks for the input guys. Trans lift I'll try to work in something about the different types of fatigue, good point. Inferno and Tom22, You make a good point about the personal story, I was trying to illustrate the point that fatigue is universal to everyone and not just pilots and also the need for rest. You guys are right though, it is too personal and doesn't seem to fit the tone of the rest of the paper, I will delete it. Also, I'll add the space "26 nautical..."

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Got a 97% on the paper! I was worried the last couple of days because I originally received an 84%. I e-mailed my instructor and told him that I was surprised because I thought I deserved a better grade. Turns out he accidentally transposed my score with another student's. Thanks again for all the input! Who knows, without the advice I may have gotten that 84%!!!!!!!!

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Got another input for you, although you already got grated on it ;)

 

It might be worth to mention skill fatigue, since it's a symptom of fatigue that's very good to recognize on yourself or your copilot.

It has two main effects:

 

1. Timing disruption - You appear to perform a task as usual, but the timing of each component is slightly off. This makes the pattern of the operation less smooth, because you perform each component as though it were separate, instead of part of an integrated activity.

 

2. Disruption of the perceptual field - You concentrate your attention upon movements or objects in the center of your vision and neglect those in the periphery. This may be accompanied by loss of accuracy and smoothness in control movements.

 

From personal experience I can tell you that fatigue can mask itself for a long time and until you realize what's happening it's often times too late. Back in the days when I worked as a paramedic I almost shocked a coworker with our defibrillator because I was chronically fatigued after a 300hr work month (somehow you have to get the bucks for flying together, right? ;) ). Although 250 Joules would've solved my fatigue problem promptly and efficiently it doesn't make for a happy face, that's for sure :rolleyes:

 

Quite a "shocking" experience when fatigue reveals itself. So watch out for it and always preflight yourself.

Edited by Hawkeye0001
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