NASA SBIR 2002 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02-II A1.01-8269 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023730 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Flight Deck Situation Awareness and Crew Systems Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Constraint-based Analysis of Aircraft Operations

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN: (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Charles River Analytics Inc.
625 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge , MA   02138 - 4555
(617 ) 491 - 3474

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
Greg Zacharias
625 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge , MA   02138 - 4555
(617 ) 491 - 3474

The analysis of flight data presents us with the opportunity of sophisticated insights into the functioning of aircraft systems and into the effects of aircraft operations. However, the complexity and size of the data acquired through flight data logging represent a challenge to the most complex tools to date. The effort proposed herein sets forth a multi-phase approach for the efficient application of existing data processing, visualization and analysis techniques for the identification and characterization of safety-relevant flight conditions, and for the identification of their precursors. The approach starts by reducing the voluminous flight data into a feature-based encoding, where features used for each flight parameter type are selected to match its specific variation. The second processing phase allows domain experts to efficiently inspect the flight data starting from detected exceedances, and to formulate constraint-based hypotheses regarding co-occurring events, and possible precursors. The third phase uses the hypotheses developed during the second phase to apply constraint-based data mining techniques for the identification of patterns associated with exceedances, and to identify the precursor sets for safety-relevant flight conditions. The description of the proposed effort also includes preliminary implementation results for selected prototype components, and establishes the feasibility of the investigated approach.

We expect the full-scope environment for Constraint-based Analysis of Aircraft Operations to have immediate and tangible benefit for the Aviation Performance Measurement System. The proposed capability provides an approach to analyzing the vast amount of data collected during routine flights, to detect and characterize behaviors that are transient, and may potentially remain undetected, and to identify their precursors. The proposed approach will offer domain experts immediate access to the important flight data analysis capabilities, and will be applicable to a variety of safety analysis problems and aircraft types. The proposed effort has also integration potential with components of the Aviation Safety Program at NASA?s Langley Research Center, and has application potential to the analysis of engine condition data for the Space Shuttle Main Engines.

The non-NASA commercial applications of the technology for Constraint-based Analysis of Aircraft Operations will pursue the licensing of our constraint-based behavior verification technology to system integrators in the intelligent agent industry, and the application of the proposed approach to maintenance operations conducted by major airlines. Recent commercial scale experiments have demonstrated that the identification and recognition of safety-relevant flight and engine conditions can help airlines significantly optimize their maintenance schedule. The proposed approach would represent a new step in that direction, by helping maintenance personnel to accurately define the context in which certain engine conditions occur, and to take appropriate measures.

Form Printed on 10-03-03 11:34