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Aviation System Modeling and Monitoring Project's Proactive Approach to Safety

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Graduate Research Paper

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


Title: Aviation System Modeling and Monitoring Project's Proactive Approach

to Aviation Safety

Institution: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Degree: Master of Aeronautical Science

Year: 2005

The National Aerospace System is one of the most scrutinized areas of public safety in this country. Any aviation incident becomes national news immediately because of its high value public impact. NASA's Aviation and Security Program has taken the initiative to be proactive on aviation safety by creating the Aviation System Monitoring and Modeling Project. This initiative helps decision makers analyze aviation data by providing tools to predict possible aviation hazards. The idea behind this project is to develop data bases that are user specific rather than having one big data base that is too large to obtain useful information.






Background of the Problem 1

Researcher's Work Setting and Role 2

Statement of the Problem 3

Limitations and Assumptions 3


Reasoning for ASMM 4

Description of ASMM 5

Pros and Cons of ASMM 7





Background of the Problem

The National Airspace System (NAS) is a well established yet fragile infrastructure that needs constant monitoring and maintenance. Although the United States NAS is one of the safest in the world, the FAA and NASA have felt public and presidential pressure to create an even safer aviation environment. The FAA states, "while the accident rate for scheduled airlines over the last two decades has been very low, it has also been relatively consistent. The absence of continuing accident rate reductions is a cause for serious concern" ("Transportation Strategic Plans," 2005). Safety needs to be the highest priority for the NAS. In response, the FAA and NASA have come up with plans and programs to be proactive on the safety front in order to prevent future aviation disasters.

The rate of aviation incidents is very low but with increasing aviation traffic in the years to come the rate, if not decreased, will provide for a greater number of aviation accidents. The FAA states, "Even with today's very low accident rate, projected growth in air travel will inevitably produce a higher and continually increasing number of accidents as years pass unless the rate can be decreased. If left unchecked, there could be a fatal airline accident somewhere in the world each week in less than two decades" ("Transportation Strategic Plans," 2005). To reduce the accident the FAA has teamed up with numerous government agencies to include the DoD, NASA, and the aviation industry to create the Safer Skies initiative.

One of the biggest problems with improving aviation safety is analyzing the tremendous amount of safety raw data that is available. Frequently, aviation administrators miss important safety information because it has been impossible to pick out only the pertinent information from the mountain of information. The aviation industry has relied on analysts to decipher the best changes in policy based on the overwhelming amount of raw data from numerous sources such as flight data recorders, ATC radar tracks, maintenance logs, weather records, incident reports, and more.

Another problem is that the NAS is always in a constant state of flux. One of the biggest reasons for this fact is that technology is constantly changing. Most changes in technology provide for greater safety, but also require dramatic changes to the NAS. One of the most dramatic changes is in progress right now. Data link, free flight, and the rest of future air navigation has created the need for numerous important changes to aviation procedure. With these changes comes increasing concern for aviation mishaps. Anytime drastic changes are implemented in to a system that has been in place for many years there is tremendous risk for accidents. The current problem is that there is no accepted way to use modeling programs to predict how these changes are going to affect the current system.

Researcher's Work Setting and Role

The author of this paper is a



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