Eclipse FOQA Program a First in General Aviation
Eclipse Aviation yesterday released more information about its planned flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) program, which was recently approved by the FAA though the company didn't reveal the regulatory basis of the approval. The FOQA program will gather data from Eclipse 500s for analysis by Austin Digital, a software company that works with many FOQA equipment manufacturers and airlines. "The information gathered is used to proactively identify, assess and correct high-risk operating conditions before they cause an accident," Eclipse said. FOQA data will originate from Eclipse's upcoming Avio NG avionics system, certification of which was scheduled to occur by the end of last month. Eclipse is aware that FOQA data could be sensitive and addressed questions about data ownership and how it is shared in a presentation at the 2007 Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar. FOQA should be used, Eclipse said, "to identify and correct systemic trends using aggregated data, as opposed to identifying individual issues," and "manufacturers should seek FAA approval for FOQA programs to ensure protection from FAA use of FOQA information for enforcement purposes, as well as protection from FAA disclosure of FOQA information."