Is the FAA Drowning in a Data Tsunami?

 - April 26, 2012, 4:00 PM

While the FAA is doing a better job of collecting aviation safety data, two government watchdogs told a congressional panel yesterday that the agency lacks the integrated collection and analysis needed to enhance the safety of air traffic operations.

“The FAA is taking important steps to improve safety, such as implementing voluntary safety reporting for controllers, but the agency has not yet realized the full benefit of these efforts,” said assistant DOT inspector general Jeffrey Guzzetti. He told the House aviation subcommittee that the FAA will need to ensure that the data are accurate, comprehensive and effectively analyzed if it is to do a better job of identifying baselines and safety trends.

According to Government Accountability Office director Gerald Dillingham, the FAA does not have a process to track or assess runway excursions. The GAO previously recommended that the FAA develop and implement plans to track and assess runway excursions, which it said can be as dangerous as runway incursions.