Fault Tree Handbook with Aerospace Applications

Keywords aerospace applications fault tree fault tree handbook

1.2 The Fault Tree Approach

FTA can be simply described as an analytical technique, whereby an undesired state of the system is specified (usually a state that is critical from a safety or reliability standpoint), and the system is then analyzed in the context of its environment and operation to find all realistic ways in which the undesired event (top event) can occur. The fault tree itself is a graphic model of the various parallel and sequential combinations of faults that will result in the occurrence of the predefined undesired event. The faults can be events that are associated with component hardware failures, human errors, software errors, or any other pertinent events which can lead to the undesired event. A fault tree thus depicts the logical interrelationships of basic events that lead to the undesired event, the top event of the fault tree.

It is important to understand that a fault tree is not a model of all possible system failures or all possible causes for system failure. A fault tree is tailored to its top event that corresponds to some particular system failure mode, and the fault tree thus includes only those faults that contribute to this top event. Moreover, these faults are not exhaustive—they cover only the faults that are assessed to be realistic by the analyst.

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This handbook is an update of the original Fault Tree Handbook published in 1981 [1]. It is written for the informed reader who has some knowledge of system analysis and has knowledge of basic mathematics. This handbook is intended for system analysts, system engineers, and managers. No previous knowledge or training in statistics, reliability, or risk analysis is assumed. Basic concepts of statistical analysis, reliability analysis, and risk analysis are presented in relevant chapters and in the appendices.

This updated version of the Fault Tree Handbook is entitled Fault Tree Handbook with Aerospace Applications or AFTH for short. The AFTH presents the basic principles and procedures for Fault Tree Analysis (FTA), with an emphasis on Aerospace applications. The AFTH is organized into two major parts.

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