Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


VERRES Report Summary

Project ID: 10968
Funded under: FP5-GROWTH
Country: France

Aquire very large transport aircraft evacuation knowledge

The objective of this task was to identify the potential impact of VLTA introduction from the real evacuation experience. To conduct the work on the possible impact of VLTA introduction, the factors and a validated task analysis (built up from accident and incident report analysis) were used. The work was mainly focused on emergency evacuation but most of the results should also be relevant for precautionary evacuations.

Main issues concern the use of stairs and of upper deck slides, the communication, and the co-ordination between separated and out-of-direct sight parts of cabin. Moreover, the size of the passenger population raises crowd-handling issues.

The aim of the task was to review the available information on the interaction between configuration aspects and human performance in emergency evacuations in scenarios other than aircraft.

The use of a cognitive model in the analysis of the cases highlights the fact that cabin crew behaviour was logical and efficient, even when they decided to adapt procedures. Thanks to their adaptations, solutions were found and control of the situation was kept. Safety evacuation procedure used in the trials was the one cabin crew use in their company in B747 aircraft (i.e. double deck with non-door cabin crew). According to the cases analysed, the actual procedure is not sufficient to allow cabin crew to be as efficient as possible, which could threaten their control of the situation.

Whatever the safety procedures, which will be designed for the use of the stairs, cabin crew will always need to know what it is happening in the staircase. But safety procedures (necessary but not sufficient) are not the only way to facilitate the cabin crew work by allowing us to know what is going on for the other strategic elements of the evacuation process. Aircraft design and communication means between cabin crew should also allow the cabin crew to know what is happening elsewhere in the aircraft, and notably in the stairs.

Study was conducted to provide information concerning the co-ordination issues of cabin crews in Very Large Transport Aircraft regarding preventing and managing emergency situations. The purpose is to provide an overview of the theoretical aspects concerning crew teamwork and co-ordination. An assessment of the actual practices and difficulties in current aircraft, trying to identify the relevant information concerning VLTA is made.

We considered that the passenger Mental Representation (MR) carried out during an evacuation is more than a simple mental map of the aircraft and includes social and emotional aspects.

The worst failure of MR is panic. Panic induces social disorganisation, violence and mental confusion. The contributing and limiting factors of collective pathological behaviour will be addressed within the scope of theoretical domains: Cognitive psychology, Sociology, Clinical psychology or psychiatry, Human ethology.

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