DOT: FAA Moving Too Slowly on Safety Enhancements

 - February 11, 2013, 11:03 AM

The FAA is falling behind in work to bolster air transport safety as required by the 2010 Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act, according to the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG). Last week, in a letter to the FAA, the IG stated, “Effectively implementing the act’s requirements is key to improving safety in airline travel by raising standards in pilot training and performance, as well as advancing voluntary programs that yield critical safety information.”

The IG said work remains because the FAA has not sufficiently targeted assistance to smaller air carriers, which are farthest behind in developing new safety programs. In addition, the FAA faces challenges with meeting timelines for key rulemaking efforts and with developing a long-term strategy for transitioning to a new pilot records database, including addressing privacy concerns.

The IG made five recommendations to the FAA to improve its efforts in implementing the act. The FAA concurred or partially concurred with all five, but the IG wants the agency to submit more information or reconsider its response on three of them.



 U.S. airlines celebrate new safety record
In 2012, worldwide airline safety had its best year since 1945. "We have engineered out the common causes of accidents," said Patrick Smith, a commercial pilot who writes a blog. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (2/11)        

The quote above is about just as good as the “everything that could be invented has been invented” quote from the U.S. Patent Office chief.

Do not be lulled into thinking that “common causes” of accidents have been “engineered out.” Because the moment we take our eye off the ball, complacency will set in and aircraft accidents will inevitably rise. We must vigitantly fight the “war on error” and never let our guard down.

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