Shawn Pruchnicki & Kathy Abbott 2019-04-10T09:48:56+00:00

Dr. Shawn Pruchnicki & Dr. Kathy Abbott


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Dr. Shawn Pruchnicki, Faculty Member, The Center for Aviation Studies, The Ohio State University

Shawn is currently a Faculty Member at The Ohio State University where he teaches aviation safety, human factors, accident investigation and complex aircraft operation for the Department of Aviation. He also serves as the department's research coordinator. Other teaching responsibilities have included teaching cognitive engineering for the Industrial Systems Engineering Department and clinical toxicology for the College of Pharmacy. Shawn also owns is own consulting business/company - Human Factors Investigation and Education. Prior to coming to OSU, he flew as a Captain with Comair Airlines (Delta Connection) for 10 years flying the Canadair CL-65 regional jetliner. He has over 4,500 hours of flight time of which 3,000 is turbojet and has a type rating in the CRJ in addition to both ATP multi and commercial single engine cert. He is also a CFI, CFII and MEI and has given approximately 1000 hours of flight instruction.

Shawn was extensively involved with both local and national safety work for the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) and held many national and local positions including Director of Human Factors, local safety committee Vice-Chair, and both Assistant Chief and Chief Accident Investigator for ALPA at Comair. He has also served on or co-chaired several national aviation working groups with the FAA. With ALPA, he has worked numerous accident investigations with the NTSB including the Comair 5191 Lexington, KY accident where he was ALPA's principle human factors investigator. He was featured in the film documentary "Sole Survivor" which was released in the spring of 2013 after being purchased by CNN. He is a frequent commentator for CNN, BBC, Canadian news network, National Geographic and several other international TV and radio news programs. He has served as an aviation technical expert and extra for several large budget Hollywood films.

Shawn graduated from the Ohio State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy and before he began his career in aviation he worked as a licensed pharmacist for 10 years at the Central Ohio Poison Control Center in Columbus, specializing in the field of toxicology. He has been Board certified as a Specialist in Poison Information (CSPI) since 1991 and still works actively in the discipline of toxicology. During this time, he was also a paramedic and firefighter with Jackson Township Fire Department in Grove City, Ohio. Since 1990, he has published and presented to regional, national and international audiences in the fields of toxicology, aviation, accident investigation to name a few. He serves on the editorial staff of several professional journals.

He has received specific human factors training at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the National Transportation Safety Board Training Center in Washington D.C. and with Dr. Sidney Dekker at Lund University in Lund, Sweden. In May of 2006 he earned a Master's Degree with distinction in Aeronautical Science/Human Factors from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. His graduate research project, titled "Does postmortem toxicological drug analyses accurately identify a medication's pharmacological influence at the time of accident?" combined his toxicology expertise and interest as an accident investigator.

His current interest and focus includes the role that safety culture, human performance and human error play in understanding accident causation. He is especially interested in how these concepts when viewed through the lens of complexity theory can affect our construction of causation. He completed his PhD in the summer of 2018 in cognitive engineering at OSU. Shawn is a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI), the Association for Aviation Psychology (APA) and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES).

Kathy Abbott, PhD, Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Flight Deck Human Factors, Federal Aviation Administration

Dr. Kathy Abbott has over 35 years of experience specializing in aviation human factors. She specializes in human performance and human error, systems design and analysis, flight crew training/qualification, and flight crew operations and procedures. In these areas, she serves as the FAA liaison to industry an dother government and international agencies.

Dr. Abbott has led the integration of human engineering into FAA/international regulatory material and policies for flight guidance systems, avionics, all weather operations, Required Navigation Performance, crew qualification, data communication, instrument procedure design criteria, electronic flight bags, electronic displays, organizational culture, design-related pilot error, and other areas. She has been involved extensively in accident, incident, and other safety data analysis. Dr. Abbott came to the FAA from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At NASA she was responsible for leading analytical, simulation, and flight studies with the specific objective of improving aviation safety and operational efficiency.

Training for Unexpected Events - A Model of Resilient Behaviors

Both pilots and controllers work under time pressures and in dynamic environments. Not all events that occur in this operational space are predictable. As such, unexpected events are those that take operators by surprise, which can therefore violate their expectations and can affect the mental processes used to respond to the event. When faced with an unexpected event, pilots and controllers must evaluate the operational circumstances and correctly respond, irrespective of the nature of the problem. Unexpected events can involve competing information and signal overload, which increases stress and cognitive workload and can be ill defined. How we train for these events remains elusive and challenges both the pilot and controller training communities. Here we report research of a set of ten accidents and incidents that reveal patterns in how resilient strategies allow for outcomes that are more successful. This research offers the training community a better descriptor of resilient behaviors when faced with unexpected events. Once understood these behaviors and skills can now be incorporated into the design of training programs that will help operators develop and practice these skills. These proficiencies may then help pilots and controllers when faced with unexpected events during routine operations.