Modeling the Effects of Uncertainty on the National Airspace System



Published Sep 24, 2018
Erin C. DeCarlo Barron J. Bichon


This paper presents the first steps toward managing uncertainty and assessing risk within the national airspace system (NAS) by investigating the impact of uncertainty on “flight plan flexibility” (FPF) – a proposed quantitative measure of an aircraft’s ability to adapt its flight plan due to improbable events. First, an air traffic scenario derived from national flight plan data is simulated with an open source BlueSky air traffic control analysis centered on a busy airport. Next, state-space diagrams derived from the aircraft state parameters (i.e., speeds, altitudes, headings), spatial proximities, and surveillance signals are used to construct the FPF metric. Finally, a probabilistic analysis is used to propagate uncertainty in the aircraft positions through BlueSky to observe the resulting uncertainty in FPF through time. Future work will aggregate individual aircraft safety measures and additional metrics into a single system-wide indicator, transitioning from BlueSky to a gate-to-gate simulation for prognostics, and deriving probabilistic models of epistemic and aleatory sources of uncertainty in the NAS from available data.

How to Cite

DeCarlo, E. C., & Bichon, B. J. (2018). Modeling the Effects of Uncertainty on the National Airspace System. Annual Conference of the PHM Society, 10(1).
Abstract 316 | PDF Downloads 412



uncertainty quantification, national airspace, safety assurance, probabilistic analysis, reliability

Technical Papers