The Morning Report: advanced proactive safety and system monitoring

An R&D 100 Award-winning technology, The Morning Report is a data-intensive airline safety and information tool that gives aviation person-nel more insight than ever before into overall flight patterns and subtle flight characteristics. Commercial airlines, along with the federal gov-ernment, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), are focused on more proactive aviation safety efforts. The Morning Report provides a new ability to gain insight into potentially unsafe flight prac-tices and conditions. Using sophisticated mul-tivariate statistical algorithms, the system ana-lyzes gigabytes of data from thousands of airline flights overnight, generating an intuitively struc-tured report every morning. The powerful algo-rithms that are the backbone of the analyses are combined with user-intuitive software to enable users to drill down, and understand, the details underlying any portion of any flight. The transfer of The Morning Report technology culminated 10 years of research and development to create the automated capability to analyze huge amounts of data recorded during aircraft flights to improve the safety of flight operations. Tracking flight data is a voluntary effort for airlines and has, in the past, been prohibitively labor- and time-intensive. The Morning Report helped lower these hurdles for airlines to suc-cessfully track and make meaningful sense of flight data. This highly sophisticated comput-erized statistical analysis technology, coupled with user-friendly front-end software, can be readily used by aviation personnel without a high degree of statistics knowledge. PNNL scientists were recruited by NASA because of their technical expertise in data mining and informatics. They developed the mathematical and statistical methodologies and algorithms to ingest data from a variety of flights of varying durations; to construct math-ematical vectors that captured the essence and nuance of each flight in a manner that enabled efficient and automated analysis; to identify typ-ical patterns and atypical events; and to present the results to users of The Morning Report, in-cluding nontechnical explanations of the major sources of the error. PNNL provided demonstra-tions of the power of The Morning Report and explanations of the scientific principles on which it is based to NASA, airline safety officers, and the FAA.
Award Year: 
Far West