Today’s Aviation Safety Depends on Data
Risk Analysis starts with FOQA numbers and others
Designing the next Commercial Airliners must be aware of the FAA systems
Connected Aviation Today interviewed Shiv Trisal, Director of Applications and Analytics at Collins Aerospace, about the future of BIG DATA for the aviation ecosystem. In 540 words, “SAFETY”, was mentioned twice and the key safety terms—FOQA, SMS, ASRS, etc.—are not mentioned anywhere in his otherwise insightful prognosis of future iterations of onboard digital data.
Many OEMs, the NTSB, Foreign CAAs, 3rd Party experts, the independent aviation groups, ICAO (the original apostle of SMS), the FAA and perhaps most significantly from a visible leadership perspective, Administrator Dickson have all vociferously and constantly propagated the gospel of BIG DATA. This word is being spread to all aspects aviation (OEMs, carriers, MRO, BA, GA, etc.) urging, if not demanding that all of these safety focused organizations institute robust systems, analyze with high discipline, and implement the data-driven solutions.
In this context, the Collins review of BIG DATA is disappointing. Following the regulatory trains of the above list of FAA data collection tools should be THE predicate to Mr. Trisal’s designing future of onboard sensors or data receptors. This is not a static search for critical sources of safety information. What may have been considered a point of risk analysis may well migrate to an adjacent part or system or even a different sector of the aircraft. This system flexibility is a complex challenge for the designing of the onboard equipment that Collins creates.
January 25, 2022
Across the aviation ecosystem, there is a digital transformation underway. The data derived by digitizing nearly every aspect of travel – including facilities, operations, aircraft, and air traffic management – is creating a powerful component to modernizing the aviation industry. Big data and analytics will not only play a role in connecting the entire aviation ecosystem but will also open the door to new business opportunities and revenue streams in the coming years.
Shiv Trisal, Director of Applications and Analytics at Collins Aerospace, recently sat down with us to reflect on the aviation industry recovery during 2021 and to discuss where he sees growth opportunities in 2022 based on the development of new applications and business models centered around big data.
[Trisal summarized his key data points in another article.]
While the industry saw “whiffs of recovery in 2021,” Trisal told us that big data and analytics will play a crucial role in 2022 in making more substantial business decisions for future sustainability and growth.
“Safety, reliability, and efficiency will continue to be the bedrock of aviation operations in 2022, and data and analytics will play a major role here,” according to Trisal.
“We have seen and will continue to see the use of data in ways that we haven’t seen before,” he said. One example he shared was predicting travel through airport facilities or air traffic. Industry can’t lean on past travel trends, given the pandemic-driven variability in passenger traffic seen over the past two years, so data and analytics comes directly into play to better understand the leading indicators of demand and enabling airlines to make data-driven capacity decisions. “We moved through continued variability in traffic levels that we haven’t seen in a while, and there has been a tremendous amount of learning here, especially in the predictive analytics space.”
Overall, data and analytics are offering a new window for decision makers to optimize their business as we move closer to pre-COVID levels of travel. “Data and analytics help these organizations stay more agile and make much needed data-driven decisions.”
Additionally, Trisal noted that data and analytics will play a key role in the future of sustainability. While many airlines deferred aircraft orders in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic, they started to pick up in 2021, and Trisal predicts that we will see a higher proportion of next-generation aircraft that are more data-rich and more fuel-efficient in 2022. The connected aviation ecosystem will enable airlines to invest in digital capabilities that better analyze aircraft, traffic, and weather data to unlock sustainability outcomes in the most immediate term.
Trisal pointed out that data is not the only factor in improving outcomes, but it is the common denominator amongst the longer-cycle innovations efforts underway to reduce emissions. This includes efforts around electric propulsion and sustainable fuel alternatives to minimize emissions.
“Data and AI technologies will play an important role in the achievement of sustainability goals,” Trisal remarked. “Without good data and actionable insight, you don’t really know which initiatives are more successful than others in achieving fuel efficiency and sustainability outcomes.”
During 2022, Trisal expects that data and analytics will continue to gather significance as digital transformation continues across the connected aviation ecosystem. It will help improve safety, operational efficiencies, and even open new business models and opportunities for stakeholders.