The FAA is updating the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) conducted in concert with the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) to encourage even greater participation of Part 135 and 91 operators, said Randy McDonald, the ASAP program manager for the FAA’s Air Carrier Training System and Voluntary Safety Programs branch. The program provides a mechanism for voluntarily reporting and mitigating safety issues in a “non-threatening” environment.
These changes are designed to make the partnership agreements less restrictive for participants, McDonald told attendees at this week’s Air Charter Safety Foundation meeting. Currently, companies must sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the FAA to participate, but this will change to a less restrictive partnership agreement. He characterized the current MoU as a nine- to 10-page document “filled with dos and don’ts.” This will now be streamlined to a smaller document that focuses on about a handful of aspects of the partnership: roles and responsibilities, how it will function, how decisions will be made, guidance on managing data, and how the partnership could be terminated.
In addition, the FAA is committing to remove administration actions—meaning no letters of warning or correction—as long as a report is accepted into the program. He stressed that employees must be “incentivized” to come forward, but disciplinary actions only serve to chill such activity.
Other changes ahead include the timeliness of the ASAP reports and activities, he said, noting that should be left up to the company on what works best rather than a predetermined timeline.
The changes come as the ACSF-administered programs have now collectively generated 4,000 reports, 90 percent of them from a sole source.