Exploring ADS-B as an Alternative Data Source for Flight Data Monitoring of General Aviation

Collegiate Aviation Review – International, Vol 35, No. 2, September 2018

Flight data monitoring (FDM) is believed to be effective for mitigating risks of aviation accidents by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and major airlines who implemented flight data monitoring programs. In the United States, flight data monitoring is recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a voluntary safety program, namely the flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) program. However, implementing a FDM program not only requires an expensive investment on technological equipment, but also involves long-term labor costs to regularly collect and analyze flight data after flights are completed. Especially for general aviation (GA), implementation of a FDM program using on-board flight data recorder equipment may be too expensive for some owners or operators. Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast Out (ADS-B Out) is a precise satellite-based surveillance system which can continually broadcast flight data. The broadcasted flight data can be received by other nearby ADS-B In capable aircraft or ground-based ADS-B receivers. This paper explores the ADS-B as an alternative data source of FDM for GA. First, the structure and content of flight data broadcast by ADS-B Out are analyzed. Then, based on the basic flight parameters, additional flight parameters are derived, and flight metrics are developed from the standpoint of flight operation analysts. Finally, the potential of ADS-B for supporting FDM is discussed.

Huang, C., and Johnson, M.E., "Exploring ADS-B as an Alternative Data Source for Flight Data", Collegiate Aviation Review – International, 35(2), pp 13-29, September 2018, https://doi.org/10.22488/okstate.18.100480