Using STPA in the Evaluation of Fighter Pilots Training Programs

A. Plioutsias, N. Karanikas

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

9 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents how the application of the STPA method might support the evaluation of fighter pilots training programs and trigger procedural and technological changes. We applied the STPA method by considering the safety constraints documented in the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of a South European Air Force and regard a flight of a two F-16 aircraft formation. In this context, we derived the control actions and feedback mechanisms that are available to the leader pilot during an Aircraft Combat Maneuver (ACM) mission, and we developed the control flow diagram based on the aircraft manuals. We compared the results of each analysis step with the respective flight training program, which is based on a mixed skill and rule-based decision-making, and we examined the role of the feedback mechanisms during multiple safety constraints violations. The analysis showed that: the flight training program under study does not structurally include cases of infringement of multiple safety constraints; the maintenance of some safety constraints are not supported by alerts, or rely on only one human sense; the existing procedures do not refer to the prioritization of pilot actions in cases of violation of multiple safety constraints; operation manuals do not address the cases of possible human performance deterioration when simultaneous information from feedback mechanisms is received. The results demonstrated the benefits of the STPA method, the application of which uncovered various inadequacies in the flight training program studied, some of them related to the F-16 cockpit ergonomics. The analysis lead to recommendations in regard to the amendment of the corresponding fighter pilots training program, and the conduction of further research regarding the aircraft – pilot interaction when multiple safety constraints are violated. The approach presented in this paper can be also followed for the (re)evaluation of flight training schemes in military, civil and general aviation, as well by any human-machine interface intensive domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia Engineering
Early online date11 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event3rd European STAMP Workshop and Conference : ESWC - AUAS, Amsterdam , Netherlands
Duration: 5 Oct 20157 Oct 2015
Conference number: 3rd

Bibliographical note

© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


  • Risk
  • STPA
  • Fighter aircraft
  • Flight training

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  • Activities

    • 1 Participation in conference
    • 1 Oral presentation

    CRM and Aviation Human Factors

    Tassos Plioutsias (Speaker)
    4 Sep 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    3rd European STAMP Workshop and Conference

    Tassos Plioutsias (Speaker)
    5 Oct 2015

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

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