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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

AVIA3010 Aviation Safety and Reliability

30 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Professor WF Gale

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is not approved as a discovery module


On completion of this module, students should:
- become aware of the statistical data for aircraft safety and of the various causes of accidents and incidents;
- become familiar with the factors that lead to major classes of accidents and incidents and how these might be prevented;
- become aware of cabin health issues which affect crew and passengers;
- become aware of security issues for aircraft and airports and of the industry's response to these challenges;
- be able to exercise a range of personnel management skills required of a pilot or other aviation professional;
- understand and have the ability to exercise the non-engineering skills applicable to working in a multi-crew environment;
- introduce the topic of reliability and maintenance in an aviation context with an emphasis on what is important to know for the student of aviation, as a future pilot, manager, regulator etc.

Learning outcomes
- The ability to identify the major challenges in aviation safety, healthy, security and reliability;
- The ability to select appropriate technological, human factors/crew resource management and procedural/regulatory responses to these challenges;
- Be fully conversant with the major issues in human factors;
- Have the ability to apply crew resource management techniques to a variety of situations;
- Understand the concepts of reliability functions and maintenance engineering practices and systems;
- Apply the logic of reliability systems and Failure Mode and Effect Analysis for various systems;
- Demonstrate an understanding of different asset management practices in aviation environments;
- Formulate maintenance strategies and analyse different performance measures, condition monitoring and diagnostic techniques;
- Apply maintenance costing and planning in relation to aircraft.

Skills outcomes
The ability to integrate the engineering, human factors and policy/procedural/regulatory aspects of aviation to respond to the challenge of delivering a civil aviation system that provides a safe/healthy environment for passengers and crew and robust/reliable operations.


Aviation Safety, Health and Security:
- Review of accident statistics and comparison with other modes of transportation (aviation is placed in the broader context of risk and current and potential challenges to safety in civil aviation are identified).
- Human factors in aviation (including the nature of human error, the impact of training, situational awareness, factors in human performance and spatial disorientation).
- The benefits and limitations of technological solutions to safety issues.
- Major classes of accidents and their prevention (including controlled flight into terrain, loss of control, mid-air collision, runway incursions/excursions, weather-related accidents, maintenance/systems-related accidents and fire/explosion).
- Features of an effective safety culture for civil aviation and safety management systems (SMS)
- Aviation health issues and responses (including cosmic radiation, cabin environmental control issues, cabin pressure/hypoxia, ozone, disease transmission and deep vein thrombosis).
- The threat to aviation security (including an overview of terrorism, threats specific to aviation and the changing nature of terrorist attacks on aviation).
- Security screening technologies/procedures and policy aspects of aviation security
. Numerous case studies are included throughout the module.

Crew Resource Management and Human Factors:
- Introduction to CRM. Models: SHELL, error chain and Reason's Swiss Cheese; examples and statistics; management of human error.
- Crew communication and co-ordination; personality and behaviour; teamwork.
- Management and leadership; conflict management; workload; standard operating procedures; optimum decision-making.
- Situational awareness; cockpit crew effectiveness under difficult circumstances and the effects of shift patterns and fatigue (human performance).
- Information processing; controlled flight into terrain; automation.

Maintenance Engineering Practices and Systems:
- Concepts of reliability functions.
- Probability theory; hazard function; mean time failure; Weibull distribution.
- Analysis of serial and parallel systems.
- Reliability Centred Maintenance; Failure Mode and Effect Analysis; data analysis and methods of modelling.
- Basic diagnostic techniques; maintenance techniques: preventive maintenance, condition based monitoring, fixed time, breakdown maintenance.

Asset Management Practices:
- Maintenance strategies and performance measures.
- Maintenance and overhaul costs: direct maintenance on the airframe, direct maintenance on the engines, administrative and overhead costs.
- Fixed and variable, direct and indirect maintenance costs. Maintenance planning.
- Use of Reliability and Weibull modelling software.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours228.00
Total Contact hours72.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Review of lecture notes each week
Use of recommended on-line and literature resources to support lecture material
Preparation of group work
Further reading on case studies
Directed reading of recommended texts and on-line resources to support lecture material
Short self-assessed exercises
Revision for written examination

Students use industry standard software in this module and are given tasks to complete so they are familiar with using the software. The software is produced by Reliasoft ( and is widely used within the aviation (and other) industries. The two programmes, RCM++ and Weibull++ 7 are fairly straightforward to use.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Regular self-assessed in-class short exercises.
Informal feedback on the group assignments and detailed written comments on the reports resulting from these.
Reliability based coursework.
Self-assessed in-class short exercise.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssayCRM Assignments10.00
EssayReliability & Maintenance10.00
Group ProjectAccident Investigation10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)30.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)3 hr 70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)70.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 25/10/2019


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