Human Error in Test Flight Disasters

Human error played the main role in the midair spaceplane disaster that killed a Virgin Galactic test pilot in October. The simple act of unlocking a braking mechanism 14 seconds too early led to the spaceplane's destruction, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. But the NTSB's investigation also pointed to a chain of "human factors" related to time pressure and a lack of safeguards that contributed to the copilot's tragic mistake. Such human factors have played a...

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