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ARTICLE: A4A Calls for Disciplined, Data-Driven Approach to Safety

A4A is right; data collection can change the time horizon of aviation safety from retrospective to prospective IF and ONLY IF, everyone commits to submitting the data on a timely, consistent and accurate basis.
For many years, there were complaints about the FAA being a reactive organization; that the only advances in aviation safety came as the result of an accident.

That was then, this is now.

FAA established the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system which as of today connects 46 of 64 safety databases across the industry and is integrated into the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) process. The Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs from 21 operators; the Aviation Safety Action Partnership (ASAP) data from flight crews, maintenance and other employees from 37 operators; and reports from the Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP) which provide air traffic controllers with a way to report potential safety hazards are just several examples of data bases currently feeding ASIAS.
These are all potentially great aids in enhancing aviation safety. Any basic statistics course makes it clear that the predictive value of any data set grows with the reliability and size of the entries. Interruptions in the sharing of the information minimize the historical trend lines that justify preventative actions. Another debasing of the data occurs when there are inconsistent descriptions of the event.

FAA with industry cooperation is clearly doing its part in following a “Disciplined, Data-Driven Approach to Safety” called for by A4A.

What is called for now is industry leadership to ensure consistent, accurate submissions which are vital to the future successes in the data-driven safety arena. Carriers’ withdrawing from programs diminish the data base and the “partnership” which is the cornerstone of these programs must be reestablished.

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