8900.450 – Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program (VDRP), and Compliance Philosophy Document Information
Both FAA and private attorneys had reservations
FAA “get out of jail tickets”
Outside Counsel did not trust “voluntary disclosure”
ASCF draws in small operators and GA
The above two articles are important milestones in the FAA’s transition from its old ENFORCEMENT (read cops writing tickets) policy to the new Compliance Philosophy. The need for change came from a number of different policy mandates—improve safety without increasing staff. To realize this advantages, the FAA implemented collateral programs—ASAP, FOQA, SMS and VDRP. All of these elements of the new FAA involve cooperation between the FAA and the certificate holder; but even more so they require some form of voluntary disclosure.
Oddly enough, both the traditionalists within the FAA inspector corps and many aviation practitioners expressed doubts about these interactions between the regulators and the regulated. The people, whose job had been to issue these “get out of jail tickets,” were certain that the certificate holders would abuse the ASAP and VDRP, in particular and thus that the enforcers would love leverage to assure safety. The attorneys, who had represented the pilots, mechanics, airlines, repair stations, airports and manufacturers, did not trust that the submission of admission would NOT lead to enforcement.
The success of CAST, in which the carriers and the FAA developed individual solutions, quickly created trust between these regulated’ s and regulators.
The GA and to a degree the Charter Operators did not accept these new programs. The Part 91 pilots are by nature an independent lot with a high level of distrust in the premise that the US is there to help them.
Thanks to Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF),which serves as a platform to launch an industry-wide ASAP, Part 135 and 91 participants have bought into the benefits of the cooperative compliance and safety enhancement of their risk reduction. Under ACSF’s tutelage, the Part 135 and 91 participants has begun to outpace those from the 121 sector, according to Randy McDonald, manager of ASAP programs for the FAA.
N 8900.450, Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program (VDRP), and Compliance Philosophy, Effective Date: 2/16/18, was an important (last?) step in the transition. The Notice acknowledges the importance of VDRP and ASAP in enhancing safety:
ASAP, as of this writing, has over 600 active Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) across the nation, with activity and participation increasing almost daily. With almost 100,000 reports annually, it is a tremendous source of safety information and data. Participation is expanding across the entire spectrum of the National Airspace System (NAS), with even small operators able to participate through the use of the services of third-party facilitators such as the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), Web-Based Analytical Technology (WBAT)-Universal Technical Resource Services, Inc. (UTRS), and the Medallion Foundation.
It may seem as a detail, but Notice 8900.450 removes the submissions under these programs from the Enforcement Information System. The new procedure is described herein:
New Procedure: VDRP. Due to recent changes to Order 2150.3B, as well as the complete removal of the EDP from Order 8900.1, Volume 14, and the implementation of Compliance Philosophy, accepted reports under VDRP will no longer be additionally and automatically documented within the EIS and will normally be handled utilizing either the Web-based VDRP system (for air carriers and certificated repair stations (CRS)), or utilizing the legacy EIS-based VDRP process. When utilizing the Web-based VDRP system, each record will continue to be issued a unique notification identity number in Stage 1 (Initial Notification). Neither EIR numbers, nor Administrative Action letters (e.g., Letters of Correction (LOC) or warning letters) will be issued to VDRP records processed within the Web-based VDRP. EIR numbers will no longer be generated by the Web-based VDRP system. The option will remain for the FAA to take Administrative Action by utilizing the legacy EIS-based system, regardless of the certificate type. Thus, air carriers and CRSs may be subject to Administrative Actions, but only if those disclosures are processed utilizing the legacy EIS-based system. When the legacy EIS-based system is utilized, the EIS-generated EIR number will be used.
Bureaucracies are sadly defined by paperwork. The number of EIS cases opened, closed or prosecuted is a measure of the FS and GC personnel. The docket for these matters was examined by the IG, the GAO and other watchdogs to determine how “safe” the system was. This order terminates this bureaucratic scoreboard. Federal employees are evaluated by and motivated by such quantitative resources. This federal data resource is now of diminished value and the career professionals involved in this new cornerstone of aviation safety will no longer worry about the old regime.
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