Inducted in 2018
Dr Rob Lee AO
1943 - 2018
Dr Rob Lee is an international consultant on human factors, systems safety, and accident/incident investigation, working with airlines, airports, regulators and air safety investigation organisations. In addition to aviation, he works in other transport modes, such as rail, and in high technology industries including nuclear power, and healthcare. Dr Lee graduated from the Australian National University in 1970 with First Class Honours in Psychology, winning the Australian Psychological Society Prize.
In 1974 he completed his PhD in Psychology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His research was concerned with human performance in complex man-made systems, with particular reference to aviation. In 1976, Dr Lee was appointed Staff Officer, Psychological Services (SOPSYCHS), Headquarters Operational Command(HQOC), RAAF. He became the first RAAF psychologist to serve as a human factors specialist on RAAF accident investigations involving F-111, Mirage and Iroquois types.
In 1983, Dr Lee joined the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation(BASI)* as the Bureau’s first human factors specialist. He established and developed the human factors, systems safety, data analysis and research capability within BASI. He became the Director of BASI in 1989, a position he held until 1999.
Under Dr Lee, BASI became a leading international agency in pioneering the innovative application of advanced human factors and systems safety concepts to air safety investigation and proactive accident prevention, working in partnership with the domestic and international aviation industry, as well as the military. During his time first as Assistant Director, and, subsequently, as Director, Dr Lee developed a high level of ongoing cooperation between BASI and ADF aviation safety agencies – currently the Directorate of Defence Aviation and Air Force Safety (DDAAFS).
The majority of Dr Lee’s RAAFSR duty is with DDAAFS. He negotiated and signed a memorandum of understanding between BASI and Defence aviation safety to enhance and formalise mutual cooperation between BASI and its military equivalents. This cooperation included human factors training, sharing of resources, including flight data and cockpit voice recorder readouts, as well as military and civil air safety investigators working together in the field on civil and military accident investigations. In November 2000 he set up his own consultancy company, and is now an international consultant in human factors and systems safety, in aviation and in other high technology industries.
Dr Lee was a human factors analyst on the major investigations into the A320 accident at Bahrain in August 2000; the B747runway accident at Taipei in October 2000; and the mid-air collision between a B757 and a TU154M over Ueberlingen, Germany, in 2002.After leaving HQOC, Dr Lee joined the RAAFSR in 1984. He is now a Group Captain.
In his RAAFSR capacity he has acted as a consultant, and also provided training, in human factors, systems safety, safety management systems, air safety investigation, crew resource management (CRM), risk management, safety information systems, maintenance resource management (MRM), working primarily with DDAAFS and its predecessors, DAFS and DFS.
He has also presented at numerous unit safety stand downs within the ADF. The training courses include the annual International Aviation Safety Officer Course (IASO) attended by members of military aviation personnel from many countries, ranging from Asia to the Middle East. He was a specialist adviser to the Boards of Inquiry into the RAN Sea King accident that occurred in Indonesia in April2005, and the Army Blackhawk accident that occurred on HMAS Kanimbla off Fiji in November 2006.
Since 1999 he has co-developed and lectured on the annual European Association for Aviation Psychology (EAAP) courses on human factors in flight Safety, SMS, risk management and safety investigation. This internationally recognised course has been presented jointly to the Swiss and German air forces in Beatenberg, Switzerland. Dr Lee co-developed and lectures on integrated safety management systems and human factors courses for five weeks each year at the Singapore Aviation Academy. He has served as a member of the ARPANSA Nuclear SafetyCommittee for 17 years.
Dr Lee is co-author with Reason, Maurino, and Johnston, of the book Beyond Aviation Human Factors (1995). He was an associate editor of the international journal Human Factors and Aerospace Safety. Dr Lee is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS). In 1989, he won the Henry Wigram Award of the New Zealand Division of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
In November 2000, Dr Lee was awarded the Aviation Human Factors Achievement Award by the Australian Aviation Psychology Association. In 2010, Dr Lee was awarded the Australian Bi-Centennial Award by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN),“in recognition of an outstanding individual contribution to Australian Aviation”. From April 2011 to March 2012 he served as Technical and Air Safety Director of the Australian Region of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN).In the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Dr Lee was made an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO):“For distinguished service to the aviation industry, to the development of air safety and accident investigation standards, and to national and international professional associations”.
In September 2014 at the European Association for Aviation Psychology Conference in Malta, Dr Lee received the 2014EAAP Award “for his outstanding achievements in aviation psychology” .In November 2015, Dr Lee received the Royal Aeronautical Society’s 2015 Specialist Gold Award “for exceptional work that has led to substantial advances in specialist disciplines in the aerospace industry”. The award was accompanied by the Roger Green Medal, “which is conferred for a significant and lasting contribution to the theory or practical development of human factors as applied in aerospace. These awards are in recognition of your world-class contribution to aviation safety management, especially your promotion of human factors and a systems approaching the investigation and prevention of aircraft accidents”.