On estimating mid-air collision risk
September 13, 2010
Many aviation safety studies involve estimating near mid-air collision (NMAC) rate. In the past, it has been assumed that the probability that an NMAC leads to a mid-air collision is 0.1, but there has not yet been a comprehensive study to serve as a basis for this estimate. This paper explains how to use existing encounter models, a flight simulation framework, three-dimensional aircraft wireframe models, and surveillance data to estimate mid-air collision risk. The results show that 0.1 is an overly conservative estimate and that the true rate is likely to be an order of magnitude lower.