POST ID: 1534-10801-xxxxx

In a video produced by the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, CW5 Mike Reed stated, “Today 94% of the Army aviation accidents are due to human error.” “As technology advances, and the mission becomes more challenging, we must continue to advance our knowledge in this area and apply it to our training and mission.”

Aviation organizations now have a unique opportunity to train their people in AVIATION HUMAN FACTORS, a science-based course designed to help participants identify the physiological, perceptual, and cognitive challenges associated with human error in both routine and high-stakes, stressful operations.

 Course Content – Broken down into practical modules, includes:

Introduction to Human Factors Fatigue
Neurophysiology Decision Making
How the Brain Responds to Threat Situational Awareness
Arousal and Attention Stress and Performance


Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the types of error that are most common in aviation operations.
  • Identify the chain of events leading to most aviation accidents.
  1. Describe the basic components of the nervous system, and explain the role they play in human performance.
  2. Describe how threat is processed by the nervous system, and how the nervous system compensates to deal with the threat.
  3. Describe the concept of arousal.
  • Describe how the nervous system filters information to arrive at a particular level of arousal.
  1. Given a state of arousal, predict the level of attention.
    • Provide practical examples of inattention, global attention, hypervigilance, and panic.
  2. Describe the positive and negative effects of different levels of stress on the physiological, perceptual, and cognitive systems.
  • Describe the concept of hormonally induced heart rate, and be able to predict performance given a specified heart rate.
  • Understand the effects of stress on memory functions, performance and the decision-making process.
  • Be able to predict when complacency is most common and what to do to prevent it.
  • Describe inattention blindness and when it is most likely to occur.
  1. Describe the common and uncommon causes of fatigue and identify the physical and mental symptoms and their effect on decision-making.
  2. Describe how we make decisions in normal situations vs. under stress.
  • Apply three key decision types and understand when and how they are typically used in routine and abnormal situations.
  • Compare and contrast recognition primed and analytical decision-making, and provide examples of when we use each.
  1. Understand the relationship between situational awareness and mishap potential.
  • Predict the performance of an individual or team based on a given level of situational awareness.
  1. Predict and identify human error potential, and develop strategies for reducing error and controlling outcomes.
  2. Analyze safety data and assist in conducting review boards.
  3. Apply the concepts learned to improve our training.
  4. Assist in constructively assessing policies and procedures, based on knowledge of human behavior and Threat & Error Management.

Who Should Attend – The course is relevant for:

  • Pilots and crewmembers
  • Instructor pilots
  • Aircraft accident investigators
  • Flight simulator instructors
  • Managers and supervisors of aviation operations


Teaching Methods:

Teaching methods include didactic presentation with the use of PowerPoint slides, case studies, videos, group discussion, and practical exercises. A comprehensive text will be given to participants for their use in class and afterwards.

Course Instructor:

Jim Schnabl (Deputy Chief, retired) is Co-owner of Human Performance Training and Consulting.  Jim worked undercover narcotics for over 10 years including 4 years as the pilot/observer for Orange County’s (CA) HIDTA task force, the Regional Narcotics Suppression Program (RNSP).  Jim returned to RNSP as the Commander in 2012.  During his tenure as the RNSP Commander, Jim expanded the aerial surveillance unit with an additional airplane and air-crew. 

Jim is an aviation human factors expert with experience as a pilot, observer and manager.  He was an instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for both their Aviation Surveillance Training Program and the Advance Aviation Surveillance Training Program.     

Jim holds an M.A. in Public Administration from California State Long Beach.  Jim also completed the FBI National Academy in 2013 and graduated from California POST’s Command College in 2011.  Jim retired from the Santa Ana Police Department as a Deputy Chief in 2018 and now dedicates himself to training law enforcement personnel around the U.S. in Force Encounters Analysis and in the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS).