Line Operations Safety Assessments (LOSA)

Managing risks has become increasingly important in modern organizations. The aviation industry is maturing in its preference for proactive intervention over post-accident remediation. Systems such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) and the Maintenance Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) encourage air carrier and repair station employees to voluntarily report unsafe conditions. However, those systems are used proactively following adverse events. Line Operations Safety Assessments (LOSA) address aviation safety proactively. Read more in the LOSA Information Brochure (PDF).

The development and success of LOSA was based on ten essential characteristics:

  • Peer-to-peer observations during normal operations
  • Anonymous, confidential, and non-punitive data collection
  • Voluntary participation
  • Trusted and trained observers
  • Joint management/union sponsorship
  • Systematic observation instrument based on Threat and Error Management (TEM)
  • Secure data collection repository
  • Data verification roundtables
  • Data-derived targets for enhancement
  • Feedback of results to the workforce.

Mx and Ramp LOSA Development

The development of the Maintenance (Mx) and Ramp LOSA forms, procedures, and software took an immense amount of effort spanning several years. The development of Mx and Ramp LOSA was under the direction of Airlines for America (A4A), formerly the Air Transport Associations (ATA) Human Factors (HF) Task Force. The A4A HF Task Force consulted numerous airline safety representatives who were engaged in current Mx and Ramp LOSA efforts. These personnel brought experience from thousands of LOSA observations from around the world. All known existing Mx and Ramp LOSA programs were examined for lessons learned and persons knowledgeable of those programs were consulted. Extensive contributions to the A4A/FAA Mx and Ramp LOSA program were made by Dr. James Klinect of the LOSA Collaborative and Dr. Jiao Maggie Ma from Saint Louis University. After initial development, beta testing allowed input from over 100 maintenance technicians and ramp personnel.

Existing LOSA and non-LOSA programs were also examined in detail to benefit from lessons learned and existing knowledge. The R-LOSA data collection forms were developed by reviewing and aggregating audit forms and related references provided by five organizations: Continental, Delta, Qantas, Servisair and Singapore Airlines. The Airport Handling manual by IATA was also reviewed. Review of flight deck LOSA and existing LOSA themed programs in maintenance and ramp operations informed the design and prototyping of an electronic database for storage of observational data. The following programs were reviewed during development.

Audit Observations
Boeing MEDA
Maintenance Error Decision Aid
Continental Airlines M-LOSA
Maintenance LOSA
Continental Airlines R-LOSA
Delta ROSA
Ramp Operations Safety Audit
Delta TOSA
Technical Operations Safety Audit
Ground Accident Prevention Program
Airport Handling Manual
Normal Operations Safety Survey
IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations
Qantas GOSA
Ground Operations Safety Audit
Audit Observations
Singapore Airlines
Audit Observations

The following companies, organizations, and associated individuals devoted many hours planning, designing, building, testing, and refining the many items that constitute this program.

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Airport Terminal Services
  • Boeing
  • Delta Airlines
  • FedEx
  • jetBlue Airways
  • Saint Louis University
  • Servisair
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • United Parcel Service

FAA and Industry Contributors:

  • Askins, Brent
  • Carlyon, Bill
  • Cawby, Tim
  • Cole, Jack
  • Crowley, Kevin
  • Garrett, Doc
  • Gildea, Ph.D., Kevin
  • Hackworth, Ph.D., Carla
  • Hemphill, David
  • Hiles, Jay
  • Hoff, Ken
  • Holcomb, Kali
  • Hopson, David K.
  • Jarrett, Geri
  • Johnson Ph.D., William B.
  • Klinect, Ph.D., James
  • Lutes, Jim
  • Ma, Ph.D., Maggie
  • McGill, Gerry
  • Myers, Mark
  • Pedigo, Mark
  • Rankin, Ph.D.,
  • Schroeder, Guy
  • Stevens, John
  • Stinn, Rodney
  • Trahan, Juan
  • Wood, Brian

Last updated: Tuesday, June 13, 2023