Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Airport Hazard Reporting and Management System"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Summer 2011 - DURI
Research area(s):
Airport Op Safety
Project Description:
On October 7, 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Docket FAA-2010-0997 to extend Safety Management Systems (SMS) requirements from airlines to certificated airports, including smaller FAR Part 139 Class IV airports (FAA, 2010). While there are some concerns from the airport industry about a mandatory SMS (e.g., implementation approach and timeframe, funding sources, risk calculation and mitigation models, scope of airport coverage), to some extent, most concerns could be solved if a cost-effective hazard management system is available for them to use. Therefore the purpose of this study is to develop a computer prototype for reporting and controlling airport hazards (including movement and non-movement areas) in order to satisfy the proposed FAA FAR 139.402 ~ 403. Using Action Research (AR), this project was initiated in May 2010 and utilized ICAO Doc. 9859 SMM and FAA Advisory Circulars 150/5200-37 and 120-92 to design a computer-based hazard management system for airports. From open sources, several On-Line Analytic Processing (OLAP), data collection, mining, and Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping techniques were utilized and Purdue Airport was the testbed. The prototype has been tested by student pilots, technicians and traffic controllers between Oct. and Nov. 2010 and comments were adopted to improve the interface and database. Most importantly, the prototype was developed under a minimum budget and the final product can be utilized by any airports in the world to launch a safety management system. As the preliminary performance of the prototype is significant and cost-effective, more advanced managerial features (e.g., database security, automatic risk calculation, mobile airport safety alert, etc.) are anticipated through a continuous multi-disciplinary synergy. The current prototype framework for the hazard management prototype is complete and now could be used by airport managers to manage hazards. However, there is much work to be done before making this a professional product. The follow-up developments are: 1. Advanced SMS features: (1) Automatic tracking hazards and providing its hazard status and mitigation process using color-coded indications (Green, Yellow, and Red etc.); and (2) Creating a management-oriented safety information distribution system. 2. Beta test: Soliciting additional voluntary airports (FAR 139 certificated airports) to utilize the prototype and provide comments for system improvements. 3. Content Management System (CMS): Configuration and user management are currently done by directly editing source code and databases, but those will eventually be migrated to a content management system (CMS). Using the CMS, administrators will be able to modify all relevant values and install additional features such as statistical analysis packages without a working knowledge of the source code. The prototype needs to be transitioned to a CMS format, a professional interface. 4. Mobile interface enhancements: In addition to CMS development, there are plans for user interface enhancements, including mobile versions (such as iPhone or Android) of the report submission page. Smart phones are popular to many airport employees and can be used to report airport hazards onsite immediately with video and photo attachments. While the current website is accessible to mobile users with JavaScript capability, user agent discrimination will allow different interfaces for different devices. On the administration side, users will have more choices of how the data is presented. 5. Industry-level database security: Enhancing database security is a must. The system administration will need to have access to full-text search and features that allow a control of which reports are listed. Also, the editing feature is needed so as to remove confidential information embedded in the hazard report. This is the idea to protect hazard submitters. 6. Statistical analysis: The statistical data analysis, automatic Risk Matrix calculation and hazard alert features should be developed once the prototype’s database is enriched after testing. This feature helps airport managers manage hazards effectively and efficiently. 7. System safety tools: This feature is an essential part of the prototype as data archive and hazard mitigation reports would ultimately a part of an airport’s record for various purposes. The hazard mitigation reports based on system safety tools (e.g., Job Safety Analysis or Preliminary Hazard Analysis) could be the basis of the mitigation tracking feature and be the foundation of the “best practices” to share with the industry. 8. Installer package: In order to minimize the technical expertise needed to setup the system, an installer package and accompanying documentation will be required. 9. Financial analysis and budget development: Cost-effect analysis is critical. This prototype aims to proactively monitor low level hazards and forecast when actions should be required (e.g., pavement marking, replacement of runway fixtures, seasonal wildlife intrusions, etc.). This outcome of implementing this prototype should also be the foundation to establish budget and support grant requests.
Expected Student Contributions:
Continue the previous outcome and improve the product.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA 3.2+ Experience in PHP, MySQL, Apache or similar systems Independent Self-motiveted
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Lu, Chien-tsung
aviation technology

Student Supervisor

Chien-tsung Lu
associate professor

Cooperating Faculty

Si Luo
Computer Science/Science
Jim Jia