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Using social media for flight path safety assessment
Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology  (IF0.975),  Pub Date : 2021-10-13, DOI: 10.1108/aeat-10-2020-0238
Ahmad Ali Abin, Shahabedin Nabavi, Mohsen Ebrahimi Moghaddam

Purpose

Artificial intelligence (AI)-based systems can save the lives of many people by assessing the safety of flight paths. Unfortunately, the world witnessed a horrible event in January 2020 with the case of flight 752 of Ukrainian International Airlines from Tehran to Kiev and it has prompted us to ask how AI can prevent such events by warning to flight path planners. This paper aims to propose a framework for assessing the safety of flight paths from a shooting of an airplane by air defense systems installed on the path. Unlike the existing studies, this study takes a new look at pre-flight risk assessment by using textual information in social and news networks. To this end, the authors use existing information retrieval techniques to identify high flight risk areas by examining the news articles, comments, posts, tweets, etc., in social media and then estimate the probability of targeting a passenger aircraft by the air defense systems probably installed on high-risk areas with the help of a statistical model. This estimation can then be used by fight planners to avoid such events.

Design/methodology/approach

To design a framework for estimating the probability of a fatal shooting of an airplane by air defense systems installed on its flight path, the authors have used the idea of information retrieval in conjunction with statistical methods. The authors have extracted some significant variables in the shooting of flights and proposed an AI-based framework to estimate the probability of a fatal shooting of an airplane during its flight and sketched a case study for using machine learning approaches to assist with flight path planning. As a case study, the authors covered flight 752 to explain the usefulness of the proposed framework in this context.

Findings

Unlike the existing methods, this study investigates flight path safety assessment from the social media and crowdsourcing perspective. In this study, the authors proposed an AI-based framework to avoid aviation hazards by estimating the probability of a shooting of an airplane by air defense systems installed on its flight path. Moreover, this study was designed to show how estimating the safety of flight paths by using AI-based methods can help flight planners to avoid such events and gain further insights into the use of AI-based systems in pre-flight risk assessment.

Originality/value

The idea behind the proposed method is original and as the authors’ best knowledge, there is no similar framework using social media for flight path safety assessment.