News / Anthony Debons pens historical overview of human factors in aviation


The Second Edition of The Handbook of Aviation Human Factors includes an introductory chapter co-authored by Anthony Debons, Professor Emeritus, iSchool with Jefferson M. Koonce of the University of Central Florida. The edition was published by Taylor & Francis Group in 2010. The chapter, “A Historical Overview of Human Factors in Aviation,” discusses how human factors (not even thought of as a discipline until World War II) impacted aviation from the time of the Wright Brothers to the barnstorming era to the Cold War time period. It also examines how the human factors discipline developed as aviation technology advanced to incorporate jet engines and radar – and how human factors engineering tried to negate the challenges of noise, vibration, cockpit communications, situational awareness in light of those developments.

Anthony Debons is Professor Emeritus here at the iSchool, having retired in 1986. Professor Debons enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942, where he saw action in the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Bulge. After earning his PhD in experimental psychology at Columbia University, Debons was assigned to a number of projects in the Human Factors area including developing and improving visual displays, command and control systems, and decision support systems until he retired from the military in 1964. In 1968, Debons joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and served as Chair of the Information Science Department (as it was known then). His eminent publication record includes, most recently, Information Science published in 2008 by Scarecrow Press.