Aviation Voluntary Reporting Programs
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 Safety Review Process
In June 2015, the FAA, in partnership with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), launched the Safety Review Process (SRP), which is open to all bargaining-unit employees. The SRP 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 AIR employees represented by NATCA. The FAA expects that most safety concerns will continue to be resolved at the local office level, but the SRP provides a tool to quickly elevate safety-related concerns. The SRP also provides a process for a documented review of safety concerns and will serve as a means for resolving these concerns.
Airport Voluntary Reporting System (AVRS)
AVRS enables ARP employees to report hazards, safety-related issues, concerns, and incidents through a process in which they can provide recommended solutions and ideas for safety mitigation or improvement. The AVRS process begins when an employee files a confidential report to raise a safety issue through an online reporting system.
An AVRS oversight board, comprised of three FAA executives from headquarters or the region, will then review, investigate, and help resolve the reported items. To ensure positive control, all board members are required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Once the board reaches a resolution, the recommendations are sent to the appropriate manager and the solution is monitored for application or implementation. A final report is sent to the employee who raised the safety concern. All relevant personal identifying information is removed from the AVRS report before posting the final resolution for all airport employees to view through the Knowledge Services Network or KSN.
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 (NAS) by collecting, assessing and reviewing safety events from the perspective of both pilots and air traffic controllers.
Air Traffic Safety Action Program – X (ATSAP-X) Engineers, Architects, 2186 Aviation Professional, Staff Support Specialist and Flight Procedures Team (ATSAP-X).
This program is an agreement between the FAA and NATCA that fosters a voluntary, cooperative, non-punitive environment for FAA employees to openly report safety concerns. This program is intended to encourage controllers and their managers to voluntarily provide safety-related information through an automated platform, so the FAA can learn about and mitigate aviation safety hazards. This data-sharing programprovides the FAA a more complete picture of what is occurring in the NAS. It enables the FAA to collect, find and fix identified safety issues.
SAFER – Federal Contract Towers (SAFER-FCT)
The Federal Contract Towers (SAFER-FCT) Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) is an agreement between the FAA, NATCA, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Inc. (PATCO Inc.) and the federal contract tower companies that foster a voluntary, cooperative and non-punitive environment for FAA Contract Air Traffic Controllers to openly report safety events and concerns.
This program is intended to encourage controllers and their managers to voluntarily provide safety-related information through an automated platform, so the FAA can learn about and mitigate aviation safety hazards. This data-sharing program provides the FAA a more complete picture of what is occurring in the NAS. It enables the FAA to collect, find and fix identified safety issues.
Technical Operations Safety Action Program (T-SAP)
T-SAP is an agreement between the FAA and 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 first became available to technical operations employees on October 2011.
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 is
based 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 in ASAP there are 262 operators and 767 programs covering pilots, mechanics, flight attendants, dispatchers, ramp service, and other groups.
Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)
The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) was established in 1976 as a partnership between NASA and the FAA. ASRS is confidential, non-punitive and is available to all participants in the NAS who wish to voluntarily report safety incidents and situations.
ASRS offers two important protections to those who report: confidentiality and limited immunity from FAA enforcement actions under FAA Advisory Circular 00-46E. ASRS receives, de-identifies, and analyzes aviation safety incident reports from pilots, air traffic controllers, cabin crew, maintenance technicians, dispatchers, ground personnel and others involved in aviation operations. Safety reports received by the ASRS are used to identify system-level safety risks and threats in the NAS which are communicated by way of Safety Alerts and For Your Information notices.
ASRS educates through its newsletter CALLBACK, focused research studies, and its public database. Its database is a public repository that serves the needs of the FAA and NASA, and those of other organizations world-wide which are engaged in research and the promotion of safe flight. ASRS safety information and online electronic report submission forms can be accessed at https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov.
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.
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-cause 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.