A human-centred design agenda for the development of single crew operated commercial aircraft

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - This paper aims to make a case that with the appropriate use of human factors methods it is possible to design and develop a single crew commercial aircraft using largely existing technology. Design/methodology/approach - From a review of the literature it is suggested that some of the functions of the non-flying pilot would be better assumed by either onboard automation or ground-based systems. Findings - It is argued that the design of the flight deck and the role of the pilot require re-conceptualising to accommodate the requirements for flying a highly automated aircraft single-handed. With such re-design, considerable efficiency gains will be achieved, but to fully realise these gains a system-wide approach is required which extends beyond the design of the aircraft per se. Research limitations/implications - This is only a high-level thought piece to stimulate debate. Much greater consideration of all the issues raised is required, as is a change in regulatory requirements. Practical implications - If implemented, the single crew aircraft could result in a revolution in air transport, offering considerable cost savings, especially on shorter routes with relatively small passenger loads. Originality/value - A first attempt to use human factors as a design driver to produce operational and economic efficiency by the novel use of existing technologies spun-out from other areas of aircraft development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-526
Number of pages9
JournalAircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Design
  • Integration
  • Man machine interface
  • Man machine systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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