On May 26, 1987, at 16:45 Central Daylight Time, an Air New Orleans BAe- 3101, departed from runway 19 at New Orleans International Airport on a scheduled commuter flight to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Flight 962 never reached Eglin AFB that day, nor any altitude above 200 feet. The flight crew felt a severe yawing motion and engine torque fluctuations. The captain proceeded to make an emergency landing on the overrun of runway 19. The aircraft rolled off the overrun, crossed an adjoining highway, struck several vehicles, and came to rest on the far side of the highway. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that “the engine RPM levers were either advanced to a position less than full forward or they were not advanced at all before takeoff, indicating a lack of checklist discipline on the part of the aircrew” (NTSB, 1988, p. 24). The report also stated that,
The typeface on the Air New Orleans’ checklist is 57 percent smaller than that recommended by human engineering criteria. This smaller typeface reduces the legibility of print even under optimum conditions. Although there was no evidence that checklist legibility was a factor in this accident, the Safety Board believes that under other operational circumstances, this deficiency could compromise the intended purpose of this device. Therefore, the Safety Board believes the FAA should take action to verify that aircraft checklists are designed to comply with accepted human engineering criteria (p. 22).
Good visual design having positive impacts on everyday products. Utilizing the “right” typeface can produce a 12% difference in glance time for men. What does that mean exactly? Well, moving at the approximate rates of US highway speeds that would equal about 50ft, which is easily the difference between an accident and a safe arrival. These types of research studies are the exact reason why I am so passionate about design and psychology.