Using neural networks to predict high-risk flight environments from accident and incident data

Elizabeth Maynard, Don Harris

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
    45 Downloads (Pure)


    Flight risk assessment tools (FRATs) aid pilots in evaluating risk arising from the flight environment. Current FRATs are subjective, based on linear analyses and subject-matter expert interpretation of flight factor/risk relationships. However, a ‘flight system’ is complex with non-linear relationships between variables and emergent outcomes. A neural network was trained to categorize high and low-risk flight environments from factors such as the weather and pilot experience using data extracted from accident and incident reports. Negative outcomes were used as markers of risk level, with low severity outcomes representing low-risk environments and high severity outcomes representing high-risk environments. Eighteen models with varied architectures were created and evaluated for convergence, generalization and stability. Classification results of the highest performing model indicated that neural networks have the ability to learn and generalize to unseen accident and incident data, suggesting that they have the potential to offer an alternative to current risk analysis methods.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1204-1212
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics
    Issue number2
    Early online date16 Feb 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2022

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 1204-1212.

    It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    • flight risk
    • flight safety
    • modelling
    • neural networks
    • safety management

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Safety Research
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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