THE IMPACT OF INERTIAL NAVIGATION ON AIR SAFETY

R. M. Hershkowitz, D. O'Mathuna and K. R. Britting

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: An analyssis of inertial navigation system performance data was carried out to assess the probable impact of inertial navigation on the aircraft collision risk in the North Atlantic region. The data base used for this study consisted of terminal accuracy data collected by Air France between July 1968 and April 1970 using the Litton LTN 51 sytem. These data were used to calculate the collision risk between two aircraft flying at the same nominal flight level on adjacent tracks. The generally conservative assumptions used in adapting the data base to the collision risk formulae are explained and justified, and the mathematical techniques used in deriving the collision risk results are derived and discussed. The inertial system's error sources are treated in a statistical sense to infer the en route error behavior from the terminal error data. Collision risk estimates are derived for easterly and westerly transatlantic flights. The tails of the probability distribution associated with the terminal errors were modelled using both Gaussian and first Laplacian assumptions. The results of this relatively conservative analysis shows that there is strong evidence to support the concept that the widespread use of inertial navigators will lead to reduced separation standards in the North Atlantic region while maintainign prsent safety standards.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 18, Number 3
Pages: 298 - 307
Cite this article: Hershkowitz, R. M., O'Mathuna, D., Britting, K. R., "THE IMPACT OF INERTIAL NAVIGATION ON AIR SAFETY", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 18, No. 3, Fall 1971, pp. 298-307.
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