A Statistical Analysis of the Aircraft Landing Process

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Fairfax, Virginia 22030

2 Dept. of Systems Engineering and Operations Research, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030

Abstract

Managing operations of the aircraft approach process and analyzing runway landing capacity, utilization and related risks require detailed insight into the stochastic characteristics of the process. These characteristics can be represented by probability distributions. The focus of this study is analyzing landings on a runway operating independent of other runways making it as a single runway. We provide statistical analysis of the final approach and runway occupancy time at Detroit airport at peak traffic periods on one of its major landing runways. Many weeks of aircraft track record data collected by a multilateration surveillance system is analyzed. We explain some characteristics and short comings of the database, and extract samples of the random variables of interest (i.e. aircraft time and distance separation, runway occupancy time, simultaneous runway occupancy, and aircraft speed). We estimate probability distributions of these variables under both instrument and visual flight rules. Although the focus here is on one runway at a large airport, probability distributions of these random variables for the landings on similar single or independent runways (with similar physical design, operating systems and landing guidance instruments) shall be alike.

Keywords

Main Subjects


[1] Andrews J.W., Robinson J.E. (2001), Radar-based analysis of the efficiency of runway use; AIAA
Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference; AIAA-2001-4359 (Vol. 3).
[2] Ballin M.G., Erzberger H. (1996), An analysis of landing rates and separations at the Dallas/Fort Worth
International Airport; NASA Tech-Memo110397.
[3] Bowker A.H., Lieberman G.J. (1972), Engineering Statistics; 2nd Ed, Prentice-Hall, Inc.
[4] FAA Order 7110.65 (1993a), Air Traffic Control., Wake Turbulence, Para 2,1,19, , September.
[5] FAA Order 7110.65 (1993b), Same Runway Separation, September 1993, Wake Turbulence, Para
3,9,6, , September.
[6] Haynie C.R.(2002), An investigation of capacity and safety in near-terminal airspace for guiding
information technology adoption; Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Systems Engnineering and
Operations Research; George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
[7] Hollander M., Wolf D.A. (1999), Nonparametric statistical methods; 2nd Ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
[8] Jeddi B., Shortle J., Sherry L. (2006), Statistics of the approach process at Detroit metropolitan Wayne
county airport; Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Research in Air Transportation
(ICRAT), Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro.
[9] Law A.M. (2000), ExpertFit, Averill M. Law & Associates.
[10] Levy B., Legge J., Romano M. (2004), Opportunities for improvements in simple models for
estimating runway capacity; 23rd Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), Salt Lake City, UT,
October.
[11] Nolan M.S. (2003), Fundamentals of air traffic control; 4th Ed., Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

[12] Rakas J., Yin H. (2005), Statistical modeling and analysis of landing time intervals: case study of Los
Angeles International Airport, California, Transportation Research Record; Journal of the
Transportation Research Board 1915; 69-78.
[13] Ross S.M. (2007), Introduction to probability models; 9thEd., Amsterdam; Boston, Academic Press.
[14] Shortle J.F., Jeddi B.G. (2007), Using Multilateration Data in Probabilistic Analysis of Wake Vortex
Hazards for Landing Aircraft; Transportation Research Record; DOI: 10.3141/2007-11.
[15] Vandevenne H.F., Lippert M.A. (2000), Using maximum likelihood estimation to determine statistical
model parameters for landing time separations; 92PM-AATT-006, March.
[16] Xie Y. (2005), Quantitative analysis of airport runway capacity and arrival safety using stochastic
methods; Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research; George
Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
[17] AirNav.com; http://airnav.com/airport/KDTW; January 2006.
[18] FAA, AL119, ILS or LOC RWY 21L; http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0910/00119IL21L.PDF; October
2009a.
[19] FAA, AL119, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW), Airport diagram, 09127;
http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/0910/00119AD.PDF; October 2009b.