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Human Performance

Aaron Katz is the National Human Performance Representative

Background:  The Human Performance Representative is the NATCA liaison to AJI 155, the FAA Human Performance office. The office is comprised of a group manager (currently Jason Demagalski) and 5 scientists (the office only has two currently on board) with expertise in a wide variety of fields. The three main areas of focus are Human Factors, Health and Well-Being and Fatigue.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all field research projects are on hold, as many other projects in the NAS are.  

New Human Performance Initiative 

Background: The Human Performance Team was involved in the creation of the Fully Charged initiative. For a number of years, the joint program has gone under-utilized. It has been decided that a new initiative should be created to replace Fully Charged. However, unlike Fully Charged, the new initiative will serve as a more complete Human Performance Portal. The new portal will serve as an educational vehicle that members can enjoy “one stop shopping” for all human performance related items. 

Creative work and brainstorming on size, scale and impact continue. Right now, the team is focusing on a multi-prong approach with as many aspects of the NAS incorporated as possible. While a finished product is still much further down the horizon, the overall structure continues to slowly take chape.   

Internal HP Team Restructure 

Background:  There has been some ongoing discussion around moving the HP Team to AJI 3 and adding several new specialists.   

The HP Team is now under AJI3. The general sense is that there is a growing interest from AJI leadership that Human Performance needs to have a greater emphasis in most aspects of safety. Because of this, we have been given the green light to add five (5) new team members. Our goal is to add individuals that have a wide array of expertise, so that we can have people focusing nearly all of their attention where their strengths lie. At a minimum, we hope to add a dedicated fatigue scientist (the current one had to remain in AJI1 to work on UAS), as well as subject experts in technical design as well as health and well-being. While the HR process continues to be arduous, we hope to have these additional resources as soon as possible.  


Background:  Established in 1989, the FAA’s Research, Engineering and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC) provides advice and recommendations to the FAA Administrator on the needs, objectives, plans, approaches, content, and accomplishments of the aviation research portfolio. The REDAC also assists in ensuring FAA research activities are coordinated with other government agencies and industry. 

The 2021 REDAC met the week of March 22nd and lasted three days. The second of the three days had the largest Human Factors theme along my line of business. Many multifaceted projects outlined were discussed and briefed to the committee.  

Future Fatigue Research 

Background:   The contractor-based partner to the HP team, Fort Hill Group, has hired a fatigue specialist to join the FAA efforts studying fatigue. In addition, the new FAA HP team fatigue scientist is now on the books but has not been fully indoctrinated yet.  

The HP team has discussed several potential research projects in partnership with several other lines of business. Actigraph work to study movement is a primary focus once field research can be completed. We are brainstorming many potential vehicles to collect data along worth many different focus efforts for how the data can be used.  

Standing modes of conducting business 

During the quarantine, the team conducts 2-3 group meeting a week via the zoom platform. Emails and phone calls also occur daily. 

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