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The impact of instructions on aircraft visual inspection performance : a first look at the overall results

Wenner, Caren; Wenner, Caren; Spencer, Floyd W.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of instructions on aircraft visual inspection performance and strategy. Forty-two inspectors from industry were asked to perform inspections of six areas of a Boeing 737. Six different instruction versions were developed for each inspection task, varying in the number and type of directed inspections. The amount of time spent inspecting, the number of calls made, and the number of the feedback calls detected all varied widely across the inspectors. However, inspectors who used instructions with a higher number of directed inspections referred to the instructions more often during and after the task, and found a higher percentage of a selected set of feedback cracks than inspectors using other instruction versions. This suggests that specific instructions can help overall inspection performance, not just performance on the defects specified. Further, instructions were shown to change the way an inspector approaches a task.