Applying Probabilistic Risk Assessment to Safety Risk Analysis in Aviation

Applying Probabilistic Risk Assessment to Safety Risk Analysis in Aviation

Poornima Balakrishna (Saab Sensis Corporation, USA), Sherry Smith Borener (Federal Aviation Administration, USA), Ian Crook (ISA Software LLC, USA), Alan Durston (Saab Sensis Corporation, USA) and Mindy J. Robinson (Federal Aviation Administration, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9458-3.ch013


When making policy, procedural, or technological changes to a complex system that has safety implications, a key question decision makers must answer is: What are the risks to the users of the system that will result from making these changes to the system? This chapter illustrates a method to explore different facets of this question using mathematical modeling and probabilistic risk assessment techniques, with the objective of assessing the safety impact of changes to the National Airspace System that follow from the Federal Aviation Administration's next generation air traffic modernization program. The authors describe the development of an Integrated Safety Assessment Model as a structured approach to evaluating current and emerging risks in National Airspace System operations. This process addresses the previously stated risk question by combining fault tree and event sequence diagram modeling techniques, hazard identification and analysis methods, opinions from subject matter experts, and concepts from business intelligence.
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Towards managing safety, the SSMT program has been involved in the design and development of an Integrated Safety Assessment Model (ISAM) for the analysis and assessment of risk in the NAS. Safety models are qualitative and/or quantitative representations of the system that assist in the identification and management of risk. The qualitative aspects of the model capture what must go wrong for a failure within the system to occur, and the quantitative aspects capture how probable or severe that failure is. The core of ISAM is an integrated pilot-controller safety model developed through adaptation of two European models, the Causal Model for Air Transport Safety (CATS) (Ale et al., 2009) and the EUROCONTROL Integrated Risk Picture (IRP) (Spouge & Perrin, 2006). The CATS safety model is a representation of world-wide historic accidents and incidents, and includes a Bayesian Belief Net (BBN) – based causal model. The ISAM model has adapted the basic designs of the IRP and CATS models for representation of accident and incident scenarios and consequences and continues to explore how improvements in the model structure and design such as those suggested by Hu, Zhang, Ma, & Liang (2011) and Cai et al. (2013), might affect model fidelity.

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