Under Pressure, NASA Will Release Pilot Safety Survey

 - November 1, 2007, 12:28 PM

Relenting to mounting public and congressional pressure, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin reversed course and announced yesterday that his agency would indeed release the results from the National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (NAOMS) project, an $11.3 million aviation safety survey. The NAOMS project began in 1998 to facilitate a data-driven approach to aviation system safety analysis, and actual data was collected between April 2001 and December 2004. During that time, the project team surveyed some 24,000 airline pilots and about 5,000 general aviation pilots, according to Griffin's testimony yesterday before the House Committee on Science and Technology. NASA earlier refused to release the data because it might "affect the public confidence in, and the commercial welfare of, the air carriers and general aviation companies." Addressing this, Griffin told lawmakers, "I regret any impression that NASA was in any way trying to put commercial interests ahead of public safety. That was not and never will be the case.” NASA plans to release a final report based on the study by year-end.