A study of the cockpit information system architecture of current single-engine single-pilot aircraft was performed to establish a baseline for the evaluation of the reliability of new cockpit systems being developed through the Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) program. That study defines a “typical” General Aviation (GA) cockpit information system architecture consisting of 38 components making up 32 subsystems. It also developed a reliability (fault tree) model for the system and utilized a proprietary analysis tool to compute system reliability.
Fault tree reliability models have gained wide acceptance since their introduction in the 1960’s to analyze the probability of success of military defense systems. Fault trees use logic gates to express the relationships between failures of the components and resulting failures of subsystems and of the system.
In a subsequent study an analytical model corresponding to the specific cockpit system reliability model was developed and implemented in a spreadsheet format. In addition to the system reliability equation, all of the subsystem reliability equations were also derived. From the analytic reliability model, the sensitivities of all of the subsystem and system reliabilities to changes in the component reliabilities were derived. These equations were also implemented in the spreadsheet tool. The resulting tool allows a user to modify the component reliability parameters and compute and display the system and subsystem reliabilities and the sensitivities of these reliabilities to changes in the component reliabilities.
This paper describes the single-engine single-pilot aircraft cockpit information system reliability model, explains the derivation of the analytical model for reliability and sensitivity computation, discusses the insight obtained from the analytical model, and presents the application of the spreadsheet tool.