The International Federation of Airworthiness (IFA) announces that the 2011 honouree of the Whittle Safety Award is Dr. William B. Johnson, Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor for Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance for the US Federal Aviation Administration. This prestigious award is nominated by the IFA members and honours the work of Sir Frank Whittle, father of the jet engine. It recognises an outstanding contribution to airworthiness.
‘In recognition of his dedication, research, leadership, and promotion of Human Factors in aviation maintenance and engineering and his many publications exemplified by the “Maintenance Human Factors Presentation System” and the video production “Grounded”.’
Safety specialists, worldwide, first observed that attention to human factors on the flight deck and on flight crew behaviour had a positive impact on safety. The same attention and programs were initiated for maintenance/engineering personnel by the mid-1980s. From the early national plans for human aviation human factors to a twenty-five year legacy of international maintenance human factors symposia Dr. Johnson has been a key planner and contributor. At the international level, in his corporate and government roles, Dr. Johnson has influenced attitude, procedures, tools, training systems, and policy regarding human factors in maintenance. Johnson has successfully evoked an applied scientific approach that combines the fundamentals of human performance, psychology, and learning to the daily requirements of operational aviation maintenance. Working with labor, management, industry consortiums, and government Johnson has impacted training and procedures for maintenance human factors. He has laboured to ensure that research products are translated into “Plain Language” and useable human-computer interfaces. IFA awards Dr. Johnson’s long-term and continuing legacy of creativity, applied scientific approach, clear communication, and international leadership as exemplified by the his publications and software/media production activity.
Upon notification of the award Johnson said “Industry and government attention to maintenance human factors has impacted not only continuing flight and worker safety but also operational effectiveness and efficiency. We are off to a very good start on maintenance human factors. Our collective activity shall evolve as it is integrated with other safety management systems. I accept this award as it acknowledges the importance of maintenance human factors and the many maintenance human factors proponents in government and industry worldwide.”