The Development and Use of Aircraft Evacuation Modelling as a Viable Tool for
the Certification and Safety Analysis of Passenger Aircraft
Evacuation modelling technology offers designers and regulators of aircraft new
opportunities to rigorously test designs and theories. However, before
evacuation models can be used effectively they need to be understood by the
regulatory and aviation industry, validated and developed further. This thesis
tackles each of these aspects.
This thesis provides a detailed review of evacuation modelling with special
emphasis on aviation evacuation models and the available data upon which models
and understanding can be based. Of these the airEXODUS model is selected for
this thesis and it is described in detail and critically evaluated. The
evaluation revealed three main issues that needed to be addressed in order for
aircraft evacuation modelling to advance. These issues relate to, (1) the
limited quantity of model verification, (2) the inability of models to represent
crew procedures, and (3) the limited behavioural capabilities of these models
with regard to simulating real accidents as opposed to certification scenarios.
The fundamental accuracy and predictive capability of airEXODUS is evaluated.
This is followed by a comprehensive investigation of cabin crew and passenger
behaviour in 90-second certification trials and real emergency evacuations. The
conclusions from this investigation serve as the basis for the development of
new algorithms to address issues (2) and (3). Behavioural algorithms are
developed to simulate cabin crew bypass in conjunction with algorithms for
passengers exit choice and methods for simulated passengers to optimise their
chosen route to an exit.
Finally, this thesis concludes by demonstrating the value of evacuation
modelling in the design of future aircraft, the regulation of current aircraft
and in understanding some of the contributing factors involved in past
evacuation related disasters.