How tools find patterns in flight

In January, Megaputer Intelligence Inc. and Southwest Airlines completed a proof-of-concept demonstration of flight-data analysis and presented their findings to the Global Aviation Information Network, an airline safety community of interest that maintains a Web site at www.gainweb.org.

Southwest supplied both structured and unstructured, narrative data from its Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP).

Among the findings was that the tool could visually present patterns of words occurring together in event descriptions submitted by pilots. According to a report on the project, “the results helped Southwest Airlines safety managers locate some potential issues across different aircraft types and airports.”

The nonprofit Mitre Corp. of Bedford, Mass., also has built a tool called the Aviation Safety Data Mining Workbench, which it tested last year on data from 12,000 American Airlines pilots’ ASAP reports.

According to its report on the test, Mitre gave each ASAP report a unique identifier, then split it into structured data tables—such as aircraft type and category of incident—and unstructured tables consisting of comma-deliminated text from post-event narratives.

Customization

The software required lots of customization, such as “stemming” similar words to their root for purposes of association. For example, “opens,” “opened,” “opening” and so forth were all stemmed to “open.”

Mitre reported that its tool could find patterns such as that 78 percent of Florida takeoffs had an altitude deviation, whereas 55 percent of approaches involved an altitude deviation. In the report, the company stressed that the actual findings on the airline’s data remained confidential.

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.