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The Human Factors and Aviation Safety Research Laboratory (HF laboratory) at UNSW is a purpose-built research facility designed to provide leading researchers the tools and resources to improve understanding of how humans function within the workplace (i.e., aircraft, cars, trains, offices, hospitals, etc).

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Competitive Advantage

  • The HF laboratory has state-of-the-art hardware to accurately reproduce operational environments to study human performance.
  • Expertise in the area of human performance and cognition including perception, attention; memory and decision-making.
  • Expertise in understanding how stressors and external influences impact cognition and performance.  
  • Expertise in understanding how humans function within a system under competing demands and pressures. 
  • Expertise in system design and processes to maximise human performance. 


  • Detailed understanding of human performance and the impact of certain factors on behaviour (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Surf Life Saving – Surf Life Saving NSW)
  • Improved human performance 
  • Reduction in errors (Human Factors in Medicine – Clinical Excellence Commission) 
  • Improved efficiency
  • Improved system design (Low Level Airspace Management Plan – AirServices Australia; VTC Charts in 3D for RPAS Operators – Civil Aviation Safety Authority)
  • Improved workplace safety (Pilot Psychology – Australian Federation of Air Pilots)

Successful applications 

The HF laboratory allows for research that leads to:

  • Improvements in pilot risk management (decision-making under uncertainty)
  • Advances in training methods designed to reduce risk-taking behaviour of pilots
  • Understanding the effect of aircraft noise on pilot decision-making, including the effect of noise on memory, attention and perception
  • Design of training programmes to reduce young drivers’ speeding behaviour
  • Improved understanding of the factors that result in miscommunication with pilots
  • Design of features to improve the effect of the pre-flight safety briefing for commercial airline passengers
  • Understanding factors that affect pilot psychological health and wellbeing
  • Understanding the effect of workload and noise of RPAS operator performance.

Capabilities and resources

  • Instrumentation (wireless) for state-of-the-art physiological measures - Eye tracking, EEG, skin conductance (suitable for use in the majority of workplaces) 
  • Aircraft - Diamond DA40 (single engine), Piper PA44 (twin engine)
  • Flight Simulators and Procedure Trainers - Frasca (Diamond DA40) flight simulator, Pacific Simulators 4.5 Multi-Crew Trainer (B737), Aerosim Q400 Virtual Procedure Trainer, Precision Flight Controls Flight Trainer
  • Instrumented Vehicle – Mitsubishi ASX
  • Driving Simulators – STISIM Drive, FORUM8 
  • Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – DJI Phantom 4 Pro with multispectral camera, DJI Mavic with thermal camera, DJI Matrice 210, Parrot Disco fixed wing.