For Immediate Release
April 12, 2016
Contact: Alison Duquette or Les Dorr
Aviation safety today is about looking ahead. The aviation community has moved away from the “forensic” approach of making safety improvements based solely on accident investigations to a proactive strategy that incorporates a mix of actual flight data, data from other government agencies, and voluntarily submitted information from airline employees. Voluntary reporting programs have significantly contributed to the nation’s impressive commercial aviation safety record, including improvements to training as well as enhanced operational and maintenance procedures.
Aircraft Certification Service Pilot Program
In June 2015, the FAA, in partnership with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), launched an 18-month pilot program called the Safety Review Process (SRP), which is open to all bargaining-unit employees. It allows FAA employees who work in the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) to elevate safety concerns without fear of retaliation. Modeled after a similar process implemented by the FAA’s Office of Airports, the SRP fosters a voluntary, cooperative, non-punitive environment for open reporting by the more than 700 AIR employees represented by NATCA, and provides a tool to quickly elevate safety-related concerns. The FAA expects that most safety concerns will continue to be resolved at the local level. However, the SRP will provide another way for employees to identify potential safety issues. An evaluation of the SRP will determine if it will become permanent.
Airport Voluntary Reporting System (AVRS)
On August 8, the FAA announced, in partnership with NATCA, a safety reporting program called the Airport Voluntary Reporting System (AVRS). The program allows FAA employees who work in the Office of Airports to elevate safety concerns without fear of retaliation. Employees began using the AVRS on July 2, 2014. The 18-month pilot program is open to all Office of Airports employees. The FAA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NATCA, which represents 338 of the 550 Airports employees.
Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP)
ATSAP is an agreement between the FAA, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), and the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) that fosters a voluntary, cooperative, non-punitive environment for FAA air traffic employees to openly report safety concerns. By Order, all personnel providing or directly supporting air traffic services are covered, including management. A related Confidential Information Sharing Program (CISP) integrates voluntary safety information self-reported by pilots and air traffic controllers. This data-sharing program gives the FAA a more complete picture of the National Airspace System by collecting, assessing and reviewing safety events from the perspective of both pilots and air traffic controllers.
Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP)
Established in 1997, the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) encourages air carrier and repair station employees to voluntarily report safety information that may be critical to identifying potential precursors to accidents. Under ASAP, safety issues are resolved through corrective action rather than through punishment or discipline. An ASAP isbased on a safety partnership that includes the FAA and the certificate holder, and usually includes a third party, such as the employee's labor organization. One of many reporting programs, ASAP can be an integral component for an effective Safety Management System (SMS). Today, 147 operators have 437 programs covering pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, dispatchers and other groups.
Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS)
The Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program partners with the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) and General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) to monitor known risk, evaluate the effectiveness of deployed mitigations, and detect emerging hazards. ASIAS began in 2007 and now has access to 185 data sources including voluntary provided safety data. There are currently 45 Part 121 member air carriers and 20 corporate operators participating in ASIAS. It continues to evolve but has matured to the point that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry can now leverage voluntarily provided safety data representing 99 percent of U.S. air carrier commercial operations.
ASIAS has access to Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs from 28 Part 121 air carriers and four corporate operators and Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) data from flightcrews, maintenance, and other employees from 44 Part 121 air carriers. ASIAS also accesses reports in the Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP), which provides air traffic controllers with a way to report potential safety hazards.
Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA)
FOQA collects and analyzes digital flight data generated during normal operations. These programs provide greater insight into the total flight operations environment. FOQA data is unique because it can provide objective information that is not available through other methods. The information and insights provided by FOQA can improve safety by significantly enhancing training effectiveness, operational procedures, maintenance and engineering procedures, and air traffic control procedures. Forty-six U.S. operators currently have FAA-approved FOQA programs.
Technical Operations Safety Action Program (T-SAP)
T-SAP is an agreement between the FAA and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) that allows technicians represented by PASS and other non-bargaining unit Technical Operations employees the opportunity to report potential safety hazards voluntarily and confidentially. T-SAP has been available to employees in the Central Service Area since October 2011. Plans are underway for national expansion.
Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program (VDRP)
VDRP provides incentives for an air carrier, repair station, qualified fractional ownership program, or other eligible FAA-regulated entity to voluntarily identify, report, and correct instances of regulatory noncompliance. The program allows the FAA to oversee and participate in the root-case analysis of the events leading to the violations. The FAA reviews, approves, and oversees corrective actions and conducts follow-up surveillance. The agency accepts the voluntary disclosure, foregoes legal enforcement action, and protects the public release of qualifying disclosures and corrective actions when all of the following criteria are met:
- The certificate holder, qualified fractional ownership program, notifies the FAA of the apparent violation immediately after detecting it and before the agency learns of it by other means.
- The apparent violation is inadvertent.
- The apparent violation does not indicate a lack, or reasonable question, of qualification of the certificate holder or qualified fractional ownership program..
- Immediate action, satisfactory to the FAA, is taken upon discovery to terminate the conduct that resulted in the apparent violation.
- The certificate holder, or qualified fractional ownership program has developed or is developing a comprehensive fix and schedule of implementation that is satisfactory to the FAA. The fix must include a follow-up self-audit, in addition to any FAA audits.