This month marks a milestone for NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), the 35th anniversary of its monthly safety bulletin, Callback. Capt. Rex Hardy, a decorated U.S. naval aviator and test pilot, created the publication in 1979. His vision of a short, readable and informal format to present “lessons learned” (selected from the thousands of anonymous ASRS submissions by flight crews, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others) was an immediate success. Yesterday, current editor Don Purdy published Callback issue number 414.
Aviation Safety Reporting System
I’ve written periodically about FAA enforcement and what I consider to be abuses of the process, along with sanctions that are significantly disproportionate to the safety impact of the offenses charged.
The Air Charter Safety Foundation’s aviation safety action program (Asap) is now available to operators based in the FAA’s Western Pacific region. The first charter operator to sign up for Asap on the West Coast is Van Nuys-based Jet Edge. A charter operator in the further reaches of that region–Guam–is also interested in joining Asap, according to ACSF president Bryan Burns. Other operators in California and Nevada have expressed interest as well, and efforts are under way to introduce the ASAP into the New England region, too.
The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) continues to receive reports indicating that pilots’ ability to maintain real-world awareness can be eroded by over-reliance on (often highly dependable) programmed control of the aircraft.
I got to thinking about voluntary versus mandatory safety reporting programs after reading an article in a British newspaper about two UK pilots who allegedly fell asleep in the cockpit of an Airbus A330 shortly after takeoff. What caught my attention was the statement from the UK Civil Aviation Authority that enforcement action against the pilots is unlikely.
The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), launched in 1976 by NASA and the FAA, was developed to identify deficiencies and discrepancies in the National Airspace System as well as provide planning data for future system improvements. To date, the ASRS process has produced nearly one million safety reports.
Although the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) believes the FAA has made progress on safety issues, it says the agency must expand and enhance the reliability of its key data sources. A DOT report issued last week says, for example, that the FAA faces challenges with establishing an effective risk-based oversight system for repair stations and aircraft manufacturers.
FAA approval’s of the Alexandria Va.-based Air Charter Safety Foundation as an Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) manager last week set the stagefor a demonstration of the foundation’s new reporting system for on-demand charter operators.
The NTSB has called for improvements in the way the Transportation Department collects data, including the FAA’s Accident/Incident Data System (AIDS), the Near Midair Collision System (NMACS) and NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS).
Singapore has established a program for pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others to report aviation safety incidents confidentially and without fear of prosecution for inadvertent regulatory violations. Called Sincair (for Singapore confidential aviation incident reporting), the program is similar to the NASA-operated Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) in the U.S. and programs operating in the UK, Australia and Canada.
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