"My name is Houda Kerkoub Kourdali. I was born in Belgium, grew up in Algeria and Morocco, and took my pilot training in Great Britain, Spain, and Jordan where I worked as a flight instructor and manager for a couple of years.
I am now based in the U.S. where I’m pursuing a degree in systems engineering with a focus in air transportation systems.
I’m passionate about the aviation world. I call it “world” because it is how I see it -big.
I have this image in my mind of an aircraft coming to land by night at a busy airport. The image is accompanied by background noise and lights of various colors, intensities and origins since they are coming from the runway, taxiways, tower, airport, and extending to the city.
The noise is that of a busy environment – not loud but busy. Similarly to the lights, the sounds surround the aircraft but extend beyond the airport. This liveliness is the result of so many people working together in a highly dynamic way.
These people are pilots, regulators, technicians, trainers, service people, engineers, researchers, business people… all working at airports and in cities, locally and internationally, toward a seemingly simple goal that is in reality very complex: making passengers and goods go from point A to point B in a safe and timely manner. The more
I know about this field the more fascinated and curious I grow. I feel blessed to be part of the aviation world.
Over the past 9 months, I led a team of systems engineering students to work on the design of a Procedure Analysis Tool (PAT) for affordable human factors certification of aviation devices.
Before any device or instrument is installed in an aircraft cockpit, it needs to be certified by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – the government agency in charge of regulating the national airspace in the United States. FAA recently issued a new Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR25.1302) to improve the human factors aspect of the certification process. FAA’s motivation about this is that historically, flightcrew errors have been the leading cause of jet aircraft accidents. My personal view is that having been in command of an aircraft; I have experienced the challenges of multitasking between flying the aircraft, communicating, and navigating while performing cockpit and time management. When those challenges are experienced at critical phases of flights, the consequences can be of a great deal. The idea of improving the cockpit devices by improving the FAA human factors evaluation and certification made perfect sense to me: the devices need to be designed to make it easier for the pilot to perform her or his tasks – not the contrary. With the new technologies and the increasing complexity of aircraft systems my belief grows stronger.
The PAT is a decision support tool for use by inspectors performing the FAA human factors evaluation for certification. It simulates pilots performing tasks on a device and accesses their timings as an indication of the quality of the device’s design. Using the PAT’s simulation reduces the evaluation costs by 70% making it an asset to decreasing the certification overheads.
This project was presented at two conferences: The 2015 IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium (SIEDS) in Charlottesville Virginia, and at the 2015 General Donald R. Keith Memorial Capstone Conference in West Point, New York where it won the Best Presentation Award with the mention that it is the project with the greatest potential for social impact.