FAA Changes Controller Error Reporting

 - July 21, 2009, 10:33 AM

The FAA yesterday announced that air traffic controller operational error reporting is moving away from a punitive system to “one in which understanding why operational errors occur and how to prevent them takes precedent.” Most notably, operational error reports will not include the name of the controller involved in the incident, a move meant to encourage the reporting of problems. However, the identities of controllers involved in an incident will be known at the affected facility so that follow-up training can be conducted, if necessary. “We need quality information to identify problems and learn from incidents before they become accidents,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “The best sources of that information are our front-line employees. Our success depends on their willingness to identify safety concerns.” Controllers now have until the close of the next business day to report an incident, versus four hours under old rules. Additionally, controllers involved in an incident will not be removed from their position unless it is deemed necessary. According to the FAA, these reporting changes do not alter the investigation and analysis of operational errors, nor do they change the requirements for addressing contributing factors to an event.