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Date of Award

6-2006

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics

Department

Applied Aviation Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. Thomas R. Weitzel

Committee Member

Mr. Pete Rounseville

Committee Member

Mr. Sam Wellington, MEng

Abstract

Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA), or Flight Data Monitoring (FDM), has benefited flight safety in both fixed-wing and helicopter operations. The relative youth of FOQA programs has resulted in their minimal application among the helicopter fleets of the world; thus, Helicopter FOQA (HFOQA) has merited consolidation and expansion. This mixed methods design developed HFOQA analysis software via a blend of the qualitative data from helicopter and FOQA experts with quantitative data represented by a sample of de-identified digital flight data from 1,014 helicopter flights. Development of the software emphasized three domains of interest: (a) helicopter flight phases; (b) helicopter operational and maintenance events; and (c) helicopter event-related and safety/efficiency flight profile measurements. This study's resultant HFOQA analysis software has direct application to multifaceted helicopter operations (Emergency Medical Services [EMS], sightseeing, military, and others), and, in fact, has been utilized by an offshore helicopter operator in its daily operations.

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