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Stress

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Article Information
Category: Human Behaviour Human Behaviour
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary

Description

Stress is a bodily response to a stimulus that disturbs or interferes with the “normal” physiological equilibrium of a person and, in the context of aviation, refers to a state of physical, mental or emotional strain due to some external or internal stimulus.

Understanding the factors that lead to stress, as well as how to cope with stressful situations, can greatly improve a individual's performance. Also, understanding that colleagues may react differently to the same stressor is important and can help you control a situation that can quickly get out of hand if an individual is having a negative reaction.

Accidents & Incidents

Events on the SKYbrary database which list stress as a significant contributory factor:

  • B738, Rostov-on-Don Russia, 2016 (On 19 March 2016, a Boeing 737-800 making a second night ILS approach to Rostov-on-Don failed to complete a go around commenced after becoming unstable in turbulent conditions, crashing at high speed within the airport perimeter killing all 62 people on board. The Investigation concluded that the Captain had lost spatial awareness and then failed to configure the aircraft correctly or control its flightpath as intended and that although the First Officer had recognised this, he had tried to coach the Captain rather than take over. It was noted that the flight up to this point had been conducted normally.)
  • AT45, vicinity Esbjerg Denmark, 2016 (On 27 March 2016 an ATR 42-500 had just departed Esbjerg when the right engine flamed out. It was decided to complete the planned short flight to Billund but on the night IMC approach there, the remaining engine malfunctioned and lost power. The approach was completed and the aircraft evacuated after landing. The Investigation found the left engine failed due to fuel starvation resulting from a faulty fuel quantity indication probably present since recent heavy maintenance and that the right engine had emitted flames during multiple compressor stalls to which it was vulnerable due to in-service deterioration and hot section damage.)
  • E50P, Berlin Schönefeld Germany, 2013 (On 15 February 2013, an Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100 crew lost control of their aircraft shortly before touchdown at Berlin Schönefeld when it stalled and crash-landed. The Investigation was not completed for almost six years but concluded that the stall was a result of ice accretion during an approach in icing conditions without activation of the airframe de icing system. It found poor crew awareness of both the ice and stall protection systems and, suspecting that this may be true of other type-rated pilots, accordingly made Safety Recommendations to key regulatory authorities concerning the type rating syllabus.)
  • FA20, vicinity Narsarsuaq Greenland, 2001 (On 5 August 2001, a Dassault Falcon 20 with an inoperative GPWS making a night approach to Narsarsuaq by visual reference impacted terrain 4.5 nm from the aerodrome. The Investigation noted the original crew intention to fly a non-precision instrument approach and attributed the accident to the failure of the crew to follow applicable procedures or engage in meaningful CRM as well as to deficiencies in the Operator's required procedures which had combined to leave the crew vulnerable to a 'black hole' effect. The effects of fatigue were considered likely to have been contributory.)
  • DH8B, Kangerlussuaq Greenland, 2017 (On 2 March 2017, a DHC8-200 took off from Kangerlussuaq in normal day visibility without clearance and almost immediately overflew three snow clearance vehicles on the runway. The Investigation identified a number of likely contributory factors including a one hour departure delay which the crew were keen to reduce in order to remain within their maximum allowable duty period and their inability to initially see the vehicles because of the runway down slope. No evidence of crew fatigue was found; it was noted that the vehicles involved had been in contact with TWR on a separate frequency using the local language.)

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Related OGHFA Situational Examples

Situational Example Flight Phase
De-icing and Latent Organisational Factors (OGHFA SE) Take Off
Disorientation During Vectored Go-Around (OGHFA SE) Missed Approach
Fuel Leak and Confirmation Bias (OGHFA SE) Climb, Cruise, Descent
Fuel Starvation, Stress, Fatigue and Nonstandard Phraseology (OGHFA SE) Cruise, Descent
Landing Gear Failure (OGHFA SE) Landing
Takeoff Weight Entry Error and Fatigue (OGHFA SE) Take Off
Unidentified Fire On Board (OGHFA SE) Cruise, Descent, Landing

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Further Reading

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