The FAA’s Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) is a valuable program for advancing aviation safety. When it was created naysayers predicted that the information volunteered under a promise of immunity would be abused. Other critics asserted that it would become a “get-out-of-jail” ticket.
The two articles affirm that the second prediction is being fulfilled, that participants are choosing to report every violation. A wealth of information about system problems is actually a good thing, providing analysts with fulsome data helps define what is going on in the system. However, submitting an ASAP report purely to avoid FAA enforcement action and/or to inundate the system is not consistent with ASAP’s intent (The Air Traffic Management .net report documents the wave of reports being submitted).
Substantial industry reports and the associated feedback from pilots, mechanics and air carriers indicate that the FAA may not be adhering to the principles of ASAP and the related Voluntary Disclosure Report Program. This episodic information is that the FAA receives the report and immediately takes enforcement action. The rules allow for a few exceptions to the “no enforcement” promise. The feedback received from our meetings with unions and carriers indicates that the exception may have become the rule.
ASAP, VDRP, FOQA and related programs provide very useful data. The trend lines created by these voluntary programs allow the participants and the FAA to create corrective actions that will help prevent reoccurrence. This is precisely the preventative initiative from which aviation and most importantly passengers benefit.
So here we are with two different predictions as to what ASAP would really become and it may be that BOTH were right. Maybe it is time to stop, reexamine the goals of ASAP and start again (Data Driven Safety Requires a Consistent Commitment by all Parties).
Is it time to call for an ASAP Renaissance? Bring together all of the key players and participants and recommit to ASAP’s principles and disavow the behaviors that discourage participation and diminish the effectiveness of this valuable safety tool!