The AVAC-COM communication model and taxonomy: results from application to aviation safety events

Nektarios Karanikas, David Passenier

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Communication problems are acknowledged as hazardous eventualities affecting operations negatively. However, a few systematic attempts have been made to understand the pattern of communication issues and their contribution to safety events. In this paper, we present the AVAC-COM communication model and taxonomy based on the cybernetics approach and a literature review. The model elements and taxonomy variables regard the actors, signals, coders, interference, direction and timing, predictability, decoders, and channels. To test the applicability and potential value of the AVAC-COM framework, we analysed 103 safety investigation reports from aviation published between 1997 and 2016 by the respective authorities of Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The overall results of the 256 cases of communication flaws detected in the reports suggested that these regarded more frequently Human-Media and Human-Human interactions, verbal and local communications as well as unfamiliarity of the receivers with the messages transmitted. Further statistical tests revealed associations of the region, time period, event severity and operations type with various variables of the AVAC-COM taxonomy. Although the findings are only indicative, they showed the potential of the AVAC-COM model and taxonomy to be used to identify strong and weak communication elements and relationships in documented data such as investigation and hazard reports.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication3rd International Cross-industry Safety Conference Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationMATEC Web of Conferences
PublisherEDP Sciences
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Event3rd International Cross-industry Safety Conference - CASA Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 31 Oct 20182 Nov 2018


Conference3rd International Cross-industry Safety Conference
Abbreviated titleICSC 2018
Internet address


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