Landing a Solid Model: Mathematica's Role in Flight Operational Safety Analysis

Mike Ulrey, Advanced Air Traffic Management, Boeing

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The Mathematica Edge
  • Enables users to instantly build and explore models with Mathematica's Manipulate command
  • Contains task-oriented functions that improve accessibility to powerful capabilities, consistency, and reliability
  • Allows easy customization of 2D and 3D graphics through a variety of options
"What we need is a good model that enables us to quantify the tradeoff between the navigational capabilities of the airplane and the risk of a near miss or a collision in a particular situation, and I just think Mathematica is a way to do that and a way to solve that problem."

Challenge

As a member of the team responsible for analyzing new flight operation concepts at Boeing, Mike Ulrey needs to be able to develop quantitative models to study the safety of operations and make compelling safety cases to regulators.

Solution

Mathematica provides him the tools and development environment to do both. "Being able to combine the generation of airplane trajectories with the statistics related to them in such a very small package is amazing."

Benefits

With Mathematica, he can create 3D models to analyze the effects that several different parameters could have on flight paths and run simulations to generate statistics for various situations." It puts the whole conversation of whether it's safe on a firm quantitative-model basis that enables people to make decisions about whether to go forward," says Ulrey. "They have much better insight and they have confidence in the results."


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