Proactive Aviation Safety Aviation Safety Course

What is Proactive Safety?

This term means that we can identify hazards that may not be obvious before the hazard triggers an accident through observations and analysis.


  • Accident- an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft that takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and the time all such persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers fatal or serious injury or the aircraft receives substantial damage.
  • Fatal Injury- any injury that results in death within 30 days of the accident.
  • Serious Injury- any injury that requires hospitalizations for more than 48 hours, results in a bone fracture, or involves internal organs or burns.
  • Substantial Damage- damage or failure that adversely affects the structural strength, performance, or flight characteristics of the aircraft and that would normally require major repair or replacement of the affected component.
  • Incident- an occurrence other than an accident associated with the operation of an aircraft that affects or could affect the safety of operations.
  • Major Accident- an accident in which a Part 121 aircraft was destroyed, or there were multiple fatalities, or there was 1 fatality and a Part 121 aircraft was substantially damaged.
  • Serious Accident- an accident in which there was 1 fatality without substantial damage to a Part 121 aircraft, or there was at least 1 serious injury and a Part 121 aircraft was substantially damaged.
  • Injury- a nonfatal accident with at least 1 serious injury without substantial damage to a Part 121 aircraft.
  • Damage- an accident in which no person was killed or seriously injured, but in which any aircraft was substantially damaged.

Establishing a Safety Culture

The 5 Traits of Effective Safety Reporting

Characteristics of Effective Safety Reporting

In order to have a successful incident reporting system these characteristics must be followed:

  • Trust- persons reporting incidents must be able to trust the recipient organization and be confident that any information they provide will not be used against them.
  • Confidentiality- non punitive systems are based on confidential reporting. This means that the person reporting an incident must be sure that his/her identity and other information that may be used to identify those involved will not be disclosed.
  • Ease of Reporting- the task of submitting incident reports should be as easy as possible for the reporter.
  • Acknowledgement- the reporting of incidents requires considerable time and effort by the user and should be appropriately acknowledged.
  • Motivating and Promotion- the information received from an incident reporting system should be made available to the aviation community as soon as possible, as this may help to motivate people to report further incidents.

Mandatory Incident Reporting Systems

In mandatory reporting systems, people are required to report certain types of incidents, which necessitates detailed regulations outlining who shall report and what shall be reported. Mandatory systems deal mainly with specific and concrete matters, they tend to collect more information on technical failures than on the human factor aspects.

Voluntary Incident Reporting Systems

In a voluntary reporting systems, pilots, controllers, and others involved in aviation are invited (rather than required) to report hazards, discrepancies, or deficiencies in which they were involved or which they observed.

Aviation Recording and Reporting Systems

The U.S. federal government collects vasts amounts of aviation data to support its responsibility for overseeing aviation safety. The four major organizations that collect and analyze aviation safety related data are the FAA, NTSB, The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration and NASA.

Aviation Industry Safety Reporting Programs

  • Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP)
  • Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA)
  • Advanced Qualification Program (AQP)
  • Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA)

Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP)

The goal of the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) is to enhance aviation safety through the prevention of accidents and incidents. Its focus is to encourage voluntary reporting of safety issues and events that come to the attention of employees of certain certificate holders.

To encourage an employee to voluntarily report safety issues even though they may involve an alleged violation of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), enforcement-related incentives have been designed into the program. An ASAP is based on a safety partnership that will include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the certificate holder, and may include any third party such as the employee's labor organization.

Event Review Committee (ERC)

An ERC periodically meets to review ASAP reports. The ERC is commonly composed of two people from each of the following groups: the company (management), employees, and the regulator (the FAA in the United States). Their duty is to review and analyze reports submitted under the ASAP, determine whether such reports qualify for inclusion in the program, identify actual or potential problems from the information contained in the reports, and propose solutions for those problems.

Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA)

FOQA. Flight Data Monitoring (FDM), or Flight Data Analysis (FDA) is a voluntary safety program that is designed to make commercial aviation safer by allowing commercial airlines and pilots to share de-identified aggregate information with the FAA so that the FAA can monitor national trends in aircraft operations and target its resources to address operational risk issues (e.g., flight operations, air traffic control (ATC), airports). The fundamental objective of this new FAA/pilot/carrier partnership is to allow all three parties to identify and reduce or eliminate safety risks, as well as minimize deviations from the regulations. To achieve this objective and obtain valuable safety information, the airlines, pilots, and the FAA are voluntarily agreeing to participate in this program so that all three organizations can achieve a mutual goal of making air travel safer.

FOQA Technology

  • Flight Data Acquisition Unit (FDAU)- This device acquires aircraft data through digital data bus and analog inputs. The FDAU formats the data for output to a flight data recorder in accordance with requirements of regulatory agencies.
  • Data management Unit (DMU)- This device performs the same data conversion functions as a FDAU, with the added capability to process data onboard the aircraft.
  • Ground Data Replay and Analysis System (GDRAS)- It is a software application used by safety analysts on the ground, designed to transform airborne recorded data into a usable form for analysis. It also processes and scans selected flight data parameters, compares recorded or calculated values to predetermined norms using event algorithms, and generates reports for review.
  • Quick Access Recorder (QAR)- It is a device onboard some aircraft that stores flight recorded data but that is not crash survivable. These units are designed to provide quick and easy access to a removable medium, such as a flash memory card, on which flight information is recorded

Flight Data Recorder

After an aircraft accident the data arrives at an airline's FOQA office and is prepared in an appropriate format, it is ready for analysis. A skillful analysts using specialized software can extract safety events from the raw digital data stream based on parameters, threshold values, and/or routine operational measurements that are specified by the air carrier.

Advanced Qualification Program (AQP)

The Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) is a voluntary alternative to the traditional regulatory requirements under CFR 14, Parts 121 and 135 for pilot training and checking. Under the AQP the FAA is authorized to approve significant departures from traditional requirements, subject to justification of an equivalent or better level of safety. The program entails a systematic front-end analysis of training requirements from which explicit proficiency objectives for all facets of pilot training are derived.

It seeks to integrate the training and evaluation of cognitive skills at each stage of a curriculum. For pass/fail purposes, pilots must demonstrate proficiency in scenarios that test both technical and crew resource management skills together. Air carriers participating in the AQP must design and implement data collection strategies which are diagnostic of cognitive and technical skills. In addition, they must implement procedures for refining curricula content based on quality control data.

Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA)

LOSA is a voluntary formal process that uses highly trained observers to collect safety- related date on regularly scheduled airline flights. The observer is often a trusted airline captain or first officer who rides in the jump seat in the cockpit to obtain data about flight crew member behavior and crew strategy for managing threats and errors under conditions of operational complexity.

Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)

The ASRS is an important facet of the continuing effort by government, industry, and individuals to maintain and improve aviation safety. The ASRS collects voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident/situation reports from pilots, controllers, and others. ASRS data is used for the:

  • Identify deficiencies and discrepancies in the National Aviation System (NAS) so that these can be remedied by appropriate authorities.
  • Support policy formulation and planning for, and improvements to, the NAS.
  • Strengthen the foundation of aviation human factors safety research. This is particularly important since it is generally conceded that over two-thirds of all aviation accidents and incidents have their roots in human performance errors.

Automatic Recording Systems

Many modern air transport aircraft have automatic recording devices installed. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR), which monitors selected parameters of the flight, and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), which records voices and cockpit sounds, are installed to assist with the investigation of accidents and, in some cases, incidents. This data specifically from the FDR is use by the FOQA program to detect impending failures, user safety hazards and verify adequacy of component life and overhaul schedules.

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