Asma Tabassum

Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

William Semke


This thesis work analyzes the performance of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data received from Grand Forks International Airport, detects anomalies in the data and quantifies the associated potential risk. This work also assesses severity associated anomalous data in Detect and Avoid (DAA) for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The received data were raw and archived in GDL-90 format. A python module is developed to parse the raw data into readable data in a .csv file. The anomaly detection algorithm is based on Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) ADS-B performance assessment report. An extensive study is carried out on two main types of anomalies, namely dropouts and altitude deviations. A dropout is considered when the update rate exceeds three seconds. Dropouts are of different durations and have a different level of risk depending on how much time ADS-B is unavailable as the surveillance system. Altitude deviation refers to the deviation between barometric and geometric altitude. Deviation ranges from 25 feet to 600 feet have been observed. As of now, barometric altitude has been used for separation and surveillance while geometric altitude can be used in cases where barometric altitude is not available. Many UAS might not have both sensors installed on board due to size and weight constrains. There might be a chance of misinterpretation of vertical separation specially while flying in National Airspace (NAS) if the ownship UAS and intruder manned aircraft use two different altitude sources for separation standard. The characteristics and agreement between two different altitudes is investigated with a regression based approach. Multiple risk matrices are established based on the severity of the DAA well clear. ADS-B is called the Backbone of FAA Next Generation Air Transportation System, NextGen. NextGen is the series of inter-linked programs, systems, and policies that implement advanced technologies and capabilities. ADS-B utilizes the Satellite based Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to provide the pilot and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) with more information which enables an efficient navigation of aircraft in increasingly congested airspace. FAA mandated all aircraft, both manned and unmanned, be equipped with ADS-B out by the year 2020 to fly within most controlled airspace. As a fundamental component of NextGen it is crucial to understand the behavior and potential risk with ADS-B Systems.