Research Projects

Rotorcraft ASIAS

Project Duration

08-13-2013 to 07-31-2017

Project Summary

Safety remains the number one priority of the Federal Aviation Administration. Among all types of operations general aviation has for many years held the highest accident rate as well as the largest number of operation hours. Rotorcraft operations by US registered general aviation rotorcraft and US public use rotorcraft also feature noteworthy yearly accident counts, greater than that for air taxi, commuter, and large air carrier operations combined. Accordingly significant efforts by the FAA and several other stakeholders are dedicated to improve the safety record of general aviation operations including rotorcraft. Although Flight Data Recording (FDR) systems had once constituted only a reactive safety tool for accidents/incidents, a paradigm shift towards a continuous and proactive assessment of aircraft utilization has emerged and gained some traction. The latter has taken the form of voluntary safety programs such as Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) services and Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA).

 

FDM/FOQA is the systematic collection and analysis of digital flight data from routine operations for proactive aviation safety improvements. It is realized as a voluntary safety program by an operator to assist in the identification and quantification of safety hazards, and in the assessment and implementation of corrective actions to mitigate operational risks. FDM is of key interest for rotorcraft because safety figures, while showing improvement over recent years, are not yet at an acceptable level. In addition, rotorcraft FDM practice stands to gain significantly from lessons learned in the broad implementation within the global fixed wing aircraft fleet. In the United States FDM efforts by individual airlines have been integrated into a larger information-sharing program, the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) System initiated by the FAA in 2007. A centralized database of rotorcraft FDM data with accompanying analytical capabilities for safety research by the FAA and other stakeholders would be of immense value to the rotorcraft community but currently does not exist. This project seeks to enable the creation of such a resource, inspired and modeled in great part after ASIAS, and named accordingly.

 

Widespread adoption and utilization of these safety systems remains a significant challenge in the general aviation community, including rotorcraft operations. Although rotorcraft FDM standards exist, the safety record of rotorcraft operations raises questions about the adequacy of events, parameters, and corresponding exceedances and recording rates currently in place. It also raises questions about the FDM process and the underlying paradigm from the perspective of its multiple stakeholders. It is expected that FDM and associated products/services can contribute significantly to safety subject to its widespread adoption and ongoing improvements, engagement with the rotorcraft safety community, and availability of FDM data upon which analyses may be conducted. To do so, the project will examine the current state of the art in rotorcraft FDM practice, products, and services, implement a system for rotorcraft flight data collection and analysis, and enable improvements in FDM practice supported by data analysis and engagement with subject matter experts.

 

Research Objectives

This project seeks to examine the current state of the art in rotorcraft FDM products and services, implement a system for data collection and analysis, and identify shortcoming with corresponding means of improvement as supported by data analysis and engagement with subject matter experts. More specifically, the research objectives of this project are:

Research Partners: Helicopter Association International and CAE Flightscape

FAA Technical Point of Contact

Charles Johnson - Federal Aviation Administration (charles.c.johnson@faa.gov)

Technical Point of Contact

Kyle Collins - Georgia Institute of Technology (kbc@gatech.edu)

Researchers

Organizations

Lead Organization: Georgia Institute of Technology

Other Participating Organizations