Safety in Aviation and Astronautics : A Socio-technical Approach book cover
1st Edition

Safety in Aviation and Astronautics
A Socio-technical Approach

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 26, 2021
ISBN 9780367628857
November 26, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
176 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $8.99
was $44.95
USD $35.96

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Aviation safety and astronautics safety are taught as technical subjects informed, for the most part, by quantitative methods. Here, as in other fields, safety is often framed as an engineering problem requiring mathematics-informed solutions. This book argues that the socio-technical approach, encompassing theories grounded in sociology and psychology – such as active learning, high-reliability organising, mindfulness, leadership, followership and empowerment – have much to contribute to the safety performance of these vital industries. It sets out to inspire professionals to embed the whole-system approach into design and operation regimen and demonstrates the potential reputational and financial benefits to manufacturers and operators from adopting a whole-system approach to design and operation.

The book defines the socio-technical approach to risk assessment and management in aviation and astronautics (astronautics is taken to mean ‘the design and operation of vehicles for use beyond the earth’s atmosphere’), then demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of this approach through case studies of, for example, the Boeing 737-MAX 8 accidents and the loss of the SpaceShipTwo orbiter. Grounding the discourse in familiar case studies engages busy aviation and astronautics professionals. The book’s arguments are explained in such a way that they are readily comprehensible by non-experts. Key concepts are described within a glossary. Photographs, charts and diagrams illustrate key points.

Each chapter concludes with a highlighted or list of take-away points. Written for a practitioner audience, specifically aviation and astronautics professionals, this book provides a valuable and accessible social sciences perspective on safety that will be directly relevant to their role within the industry.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Data, method, theory and presentation

Chapter 3 Short case studies

  • The 1958 Munich Air Disaster
  • The 1967 Apollo 1 fire
  • The loss of North American Aviation X-15A-3 56-6672
  • The loss of SpaceShipTwo
  • The curtailment of the 2019 Boeing Starliner test flight

Chapter 4 Long case study

  • The Boeing 737MAX-8 accidents

Chapter 5 Conclusions


  • Appendix 1: The sinking of HMS Hood
  • Appendix 2: A British Army near-miss in Ulster
  • Appendix 3: Nazi science and the principles of boost-glide


View More



Simon Ashley Bennett directs the Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester in England. He has published extensively on aviation safety issues and has spent over 1,500 hours on the jump-seats of a variety of aircraft, including the 737, 757, A300, A319, A320 and A321. His research interests include flight-deck human factors and socio-technical systems-thinking. He is an Associate Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Member of the Air Safety Group of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS). He has trained pilots in crew resource management and fatigue risk management, has spent time in a 737 simulator and has taken safety and emergency procedures (SEP) courses on a variety of types, including the 747-800.