Runway excursion risk assessment in Spanish short runway airports
Document typeBachelor thesis
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
The goal of this project is to carry out a risk assessment in order to evaluate the probability of an overrun runway excursion in some Spanish airports with an operative short runway. The study will be performed by means of Flight Data Analysis, which allows the collection, processing and analysis of the data retrieved from the flight data recorder of the aircraft to gather valuable safety information, identify threats and mitigate the risks. The data derives from Vueling 2014 summer peak operation in A Coruña (LCG) and San Sebastian (EAS) airports, which are the ones with the shortest runways operated by Vueling in Spain. The relevant flight parameters have been captured at 500, 50 and 35ft above ground level respectively and at the touchdown moment as well. Once the data has been processed, several statistical techniques including probability models from the Airport Cooperative Research Program have been applied in order to compare the whole operation with the worst runway excursion accident in history: the flight 3054 from TAM Airlines in Sao Paolo, Brazil. TAM Airlines and the accident in particular turn out to have several similarities with Vueling operation in terms of fleet, operative pressure and airport destination characteristics, becoming an excellent candidate for the comparison and allowing us to improve our daily operation and safety records. The results show that despite having few flight cases which approximate to some conditions of the accident of TAM Airlines, the use of the right flight procedure, which was thoroughly revised shortly after the accident and the quick reaction of the flight crew is essential to avoid a major incident. Worldwide airlines have learnt from the aviation tragedy in Sao Paolo and fortunately none of the flights that were analysed was close to have a runway excursion like the one in the accident.