Aircraft initial mass estimation using Bayesian inference method

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
82 Downloads (Pure)


Aircraft mass is a crucial piece of information for studies on aircraft performance, trajectory prediction, and many other topics of aircraft traffic management. However, It is a common challenge for researchers, as well as air traffic control, to access this proprietary information. Previously, several studies have proposed methods to estimate aircraft weight based on specific parts of the flight. Due to inaccurate input data or biased assumptions, this often leads to less confident or inaccurate estimations. In this paper, combined with a fuel-flow model, different aircraft initial masses are computed independently using the total energy model and reference model at first. It then adopts a Bayesian approach that uses a prior probability of aircraft mass based on empirical knowledge and computed aircraft initial masses to produce the maximum a posteriori estimation. Variation in results caused by dependent factors such as prior, thrust and wind are also studied. The method is validated using 50 test flights of a Cessna Citation II aircraft, for which measurements of the true mass were available. The validation results show a mean absolute error of 4.3% of the actual aircraft mass.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-73
JournalTransportation Research. Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Aircraft mass
  • Weight estimation
  • Bayesian inference


Dive into the research topics of 'Aircraft initial mass estimation using Bayesian inference method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this