Welcome to William J Hughes Technical Center
FAA Human Factors Branch (ANG-E25)

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Human Factors Branch (ANG-E25) employs scientific methods and advanced technology in the conduct of research and development to ensure that systems that include human operators and maintainers perform as effectively and safely as possible.

What Makes Us Unique

The members of the Human Factors Branch have a broad range of skills, knowledge, and experience that distinguishes them from other organizations conducting human factors work for the FAA. In addition to having graduate training in human factors, psychology, engineering, and related fields, we have studied air traffic control, NAS maintenance, and flight deck operations by working closely with current controllers, technicians, and pilots. We use the William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) laboratories that contain all the current and developmental systems in the National Airspace System (NAS), and regularly visit FAA field facilities to observe and collect data about their operations. Our engineering research psychologists speak the users' language while maintaining a scientific, human-centered, system-oriented perspective.

Within the Research, Development, and Human Factors Laboratory (RDHFL), we conduct research to develop methods of measuring human performance in the aviation environments, to evaluate longer term operational concepts, and to develop useful databases and design standards. The R&D Labs Group provides outstanding technical, engineering, and computer science support to these efforts. Together, we have developed high fidelity rapid prototyping and human-in-the-loop simulation capabilities coupled with specialized human operator and system performance measures. Finally, we use this information and methods to work with stakeholder groups to evaluate existing systems and to design nearer term developmental systems and procedures to ensure that the operators and maintainers can use them safely and effectively to perform their critical jobs.
The collocation and collaboration between the research and acquisition personnel and activities increases the relevance and quality of our products. The human-centered design processes are intended to make these frequently complex systems relatively easy to learn and use so as to increase productivity and efficiency while minimizing the potential for error. Our focus is on designing systems and procedures for the NAS that meet the needs of the operators and maintainers, and ultimately the FAA customers (pilots, airlines, commercial operations, and the traveling public) rather than on trying to select, train, and manage people that can use technology-centered systems.

It is FAA policy to ensure the safety and well-being of participants in FAA-sponsored or FAA-conducted scientific research (FAA Order 9500.25A (PDF) and 49 CFR Part 11).