Positive Editorial Opinion on Aviation Safety should be credited to FAA and Industry Proactive, Data-driven Initiatives

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ARTICLE: In our opinion: Aviation safety is up, tragedies are becoming more rare


The term “tombstone agency” is one that some aviation experts used to describe the FAA about 20 years ago. The hypothesis was that a pattern of responding to an accident rather than anticipating the problem merited this deplorable characterization.

Whether the allegation was true or not, the leaders of the FAA and industry decided to design and implement systems that would be more predictive in nature. The results were a whole host of data driven tools – ASRS, FOQA, VDRP and SMS, to name a few of the innovative technologies that now identify trends worth focused attention to implement proactive solutions. The immediate results are evidenced in 2012 being the safest year in aviation history.

The editorial in the Deseret News reflects that positive trend; in fact, the paper recites, in detail, the impressive numbers. This expression of opinion is reason for all aviation safety professionals to pause and reflect on two thoughts:

  • Now an accident stimulates a journalist to note how well aviation safety is doing and thus we, as professionals in this arena, should be pleased that the “tombstone” word is not in the article, and
  • How we must not become lax and must redouble our efforts to assure that future news reports are able to comment on the even higher level of performance we have attained.

Appreciation must be expressed for the foresight and hard work of the FAA and industry leaders whose visions have resulted in such a positive headline.

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