It Was This Wing Wasn’t It? Identifying the Importance of Verbal Communication in Aviation Maintenance

Michael Newman, Steve Scott

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To place communication in context against other maintenance error promoting contributory factors and identify whether communication issues were written or verbal, a semi-structured interview schedule was used to ask 40 aircraft maintenance personnel what goes wrong when maintaining aircraft. Participants described 746 examples of contributory factors and undesired outcomes which were categorized using Dupont’s “dirty dozen.” 147 of the 746 descriptions were communication factors, of which 99 were verbal, 34 were written and 14 were general. Of 34 verbal and 19 written task miscommunication examples, 22 verbal and 10 written were accompanied by descriptions of undesired outcomes. The results suggest that commercial aircraft maintainers consider verbal and written communication as more important than other contributory factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Aerospace Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date19 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Education


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