Modeling exposure of communities in the vicinity of public-use, non-towered airports to the aircraft crash hazard Open Access

This research presents a methodology for quantifying exposure of communities, situated in the vicinity of non-towered airports, to the hazard of aircraft crashing outside the confines of the airport and, obsessively, inside the confines of the community. The intended application is as a land-use planning tool for the civic planner (i.e, risk manager, city/county planner, airport manager) when assessing exposure of a community, relative to airport and/or community development projects. There were two goals to this research: 1) model the crash location relative frequency distribution for reciprocating-engine powered fixed-wing aircraft operating at public-use, non-towered airports; and 2) demonstrate the utility of this research.The first goal was achieved through an accident investigation report selection, review and data extraction process. This process compiled and validated, in a consistent manner, a body of high quality data from the NTSB factual report record. Validated data then populated a quantitative model that simulated the crash location relative frequency distribution for the defined subset of aviation. The model used was a hybrid of existing risk modeling processes implemented at large commercial service airports for mapping third-party risk. The second goal was achieved in two ways. First, the crash location relative frequency distribution was incorporated as a relative metric of the probability that a crash would result in a crash site being located within any defined area. This metric was termed the Crash Hazard, with the subsequent distribution termed the Crash Hazard Distribution. The Crash Hazard Distribution is presented under various model airport scenarios. Second, the Crash Hazard Distribution was transformed to an absolute metric of exposure by integrating the Crash Hazard with an estimated crash rate, yielding the distributed Crash Risk (defined as the frequency at which crashes are expected to occur within any defined area per year). The Crash Risk Distribution is again presented under various model airport scenarios. It is the contention of this dissertation research that the Crash Hazard and Crash Risk each offers specific and actionable information for the civic planner when considering community exposure under airport and community development projects.

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