I got to thinking about voluntary versus mandatory safety reporting programs after reading an article in a British newspaper about two UK pilots who allegedly fell asleep in the cockpit of an Airbus A330 shortly after takeoff. What caught my attention was the statement from the UK Civil Aviation Authority that enforcement action against the pilots is unlikely.
Aviation Safety Reporting System
The Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), launched in 1976 by NASA and the FAA, was developed to identify deficiencies and discrepancies in the National Airspace System as well as provide planning data for future system improvements. To date, the ASRS process has produced nearly one million safety reports.
Although the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) believes the FAA has made progress on safety issues, it says the agency must expand and enhance the reliability of its key data sources. A DOT report issued last week says, for example, that the FAA faces challenges with establishing an effective risk-based oversight system for repair stations and aircraft manufacturers.
FAA approval’s of the Alexandria Va.-based Air Charter Safety Foundation as an Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) manager last week set the stagefor a demonstration of the foundation’s new reporting system for on-demand charter operators.
The NTSB has called for improvements in the way the Transportation Department collects data, including the FAA’s Accident/Incident Data System (AIDS), the Near Midair Collision System (NMACS) and NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS).
Singapore has established a program for pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others to report aviation safety incidents confidentially and without fear of prosecution for inadvertent regulatory violations. Called Sincair (for Singapore confidential aviation incident reporting), the program is similar to the NASA-operated Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) in the U.S. and programs operating in the UK, Australia and Canada.
Pilots making submissions to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) should be aware that two people cannot receive immunity with a single submission.
The National Air Transportation Association and NBAA have reacted swiftly to the FAA’s warning that the agency might withhold funding for the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) due to "budgetary shortfalls." In a June 16 letter to FAA associate administrator for aviation safety Nicholas Sabatini, the two trade groups said "the ASRS program is a tremendous safety benefit to all users of the aviation system.
A 757 crew did not get the response they expected when they declared an “emergency” instead of “mayday.” According to an incident filed with NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, the crew found that the word “emergency” didn’t get the desired results outside U.S. airspace. The crew diverted to an airport in South America and declared an emergency, but the non-English-speaking controllers didn’t recognize what that meant.
After discussing the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) with people involved in many different aspects of aviation, NASA has come to believe there are several misconceptions concerning the filing of reports. For example, a number of people thought that direct involvement was necessary to report an incident, and many expressed a belief that a person can submit only one ASRS report within a five-year period.
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