Human Factors Toolbox

FAA offers the Maintenance Human Factors Presentation System

The FAA has released tools to help maintenance organizations tailor human factors presentations to match their specific requirements. The Maintenance Human Factors Presentation System (MHFPS) has nearly 150 Microsoft PowerPoint slides, 10 video snippets, and 40 animations. Why did the FAA Flight Standards Service create the system and what can it do for your company?

FAA inspectors asked for it
The project stemmed from the results of a 2007 survey to U.S. FAA airworthiness aviation safety inspectors (Johnson and Hackworth, 2008). FAA inspectors said that they wanted material to help them make presentations to their FAA peers and to industry audiences. They wanted material that contained appropriate multimedia — like videos and animations — but also editable PowerPoint slides with organized content.
The requirement demanded interesting and high-value topics, but not necessarily a complete human factors course of instruction. In many cases, technical personnel, such as inspectors or engineers/mechanics, have many valuable stories but not the accompanying instructional media. The request from FAA inspectors is the same as comments received from every segment of the aircraft maintenance industry, to include general aviation, helicopter operators, airlines, maintenance repair organizations, military, and others. From this, the idea of the MHFPS was born.

Repeat after me, please — ‘MHFPS is not computer-based training (CBT)’

The MHFPS is a very large software package. It is delivered on DVD and is not conducive to web-based distribution. With its high-resolution videos, flash animations, and multiple graphical PowerPoint slides, the system consumes over 1 gigabyte in storage. It works well on a 2-gigabyte memory drive, allowing you to have all the original content — along with your own customized presentation — on the same memory stick. In fact, one of the goals of the system is that it lets you customize the presentation — adding, deleting, and modifying slides as they relate to your organization.

There are a few basic expectations to start. You must have a DVD and you must have PowerPoint. External audio speakers enhance the videos and animations. If your computer permits “auto run,” the DVD will start automatically and bring up the main menu, shown in Figure 1. If your system does not permit auto run, just open the DVD directory and select “Start Menu Click Here.”

The MHFPS does not require a written user’s manual. You should watch the “Instructions for Use” video before delivering a presentation. This short video describes the system and its use, and is available by clicking the top left box from the launch menu. You can run the standard presentations directly from the launch menu.

Once you get creative
Your last choice on the launch menu, before “Exit,” is to load the entire program to your own computer. Then you can make as many changes as your knowledge and creativity allow. Select “Copy to Computer” to have the system automatically load the software to the root of your C drive in a directory named MHFPS. Because of the many hyperlinks within the program, it is important that you keep your presentations within the MHFPS directory. The PowerPoint “help” resources may be very useful to you once you start moving hyperlinks and “hidden slides,” as there is a chance that you may need to reset some of the links.

Creation — the media and the content
The MHFPS covers a set of generic topics that blend a touch of basics with concepts that the presenter can apply to the specific workplace. It creates a forum to discuss major world aviation events as well as local data from a company’s error reporting data. It also provides information and web links to ensure continuing education opportunities. MHFPS includes the following main topics:

  • Introduction to human factors
  • History of human factors
  • Human factors spectacles
  • The PEAR model (with fatigue)
  • Human error and event reporting
  • Maintenance accidents
  • Where to get more information
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