Mark E. Blazy
FAA Office of System Safety
ASRP / ASRS
– In 1975 the NTSB recommended FAA create an incident reporting system
for identifying unsafe operating conditions following the TWA B727
accident near Dulles International Airport, December 1, 1974.
– FAA established the Aviation Safety Reporting Program (ASRP) in April
1975. Four months later the FAA determined that an impartial ―third
party‖ without regulatory oversight should serve as the repository for
– In August 1975 NASA was selected and tasked to develop and administer
the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)
• On December 1, 1974, a TWA B-727 was inbound from the northwest to land
at Dulles International Airport in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).
The flight descended prematurely below the minimum safe instrument altitude
striking the slope of Mount Weather, VA. All 92 passengers and crew on
board were killed.
• Investigating the circumstances, the National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) discovered that the flight crew misinterpreted information on the
approach chart. The NTSB then discovered that another airline made a similar
premature descent some six weeks earlier—somehow avoiding the same fatal
error. The earlier incident was reported within the company, but it was not
disseminated to any other airlines for fear of enforcement action.
• This incident served as a catalyst to create an incident reporting system. Since
one of the primary missions of FAA is to promote aviation safety, the NSTB
made an immediate recommendation for the FAA to create a reporting
program designed to identify unsafe operating conditions. In 1975 the FAA
instituted the Aviation Safety Reporting Program (ASRP), which was designed
to encourage the identification and reporting of deficiencies and discrepancies
in the National Airspace System (NAS). To encourage reporting, the ASRP
provides limited immunity from certain types of enforcement action.
• Pilots, however, were uneasy and often times reluctant to report errors to a
regulatory agency that could assess fines and revoke licenses. Understanding
the reluctance to report deficiencies or hazards, the FAA determined that the
effectiveness of the ASRP would be further enhanced if an objective, non-
regulatory agency served as the repository for reported safety information.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was selected as
the independent agency.
• In 1976, FAA and NASA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement where
NASA would handle the collection, analysis, and de-identification of safety
reports. Although NASA designed and, now administers the Aviation Safety
Reporting System (ASRS), the FAA provides the major funding for the ASRS
to promote the continued use and operation of the system.
• NASA’s ASRS is a voluntary incident reporting system that is designed
primarily to provide information to the FAA and the aviation community to
assist in reaching the goal of reducing and ultimately eliminating unsafe
conditions in the NAS.
• NASA’s system ensures the anonymity of the reporter.
• The primary objective:
– Obtain all possible information that might assist
the FAA in evaluating and enhancing safety
– Based on free and unrestricted flow of
information by all users of the airspace system.
FAA / NASA
• FAA • NASA: five primary
– Grants Immunity functions
1. Receipt, de-identification, and
– Provides funding for processing of incident reports
NASA’s ASRS 2. Analysis and interpretation of
– Uses ASRS data to incident data
3. Issue alert messages within a
enhance safety and specified time period
security 4. Disseminate reports and other
5. Conduct ASRS evaluations and
FAA / NASA
• Title 14 C.F.R.FAR Part
91, Section 91.25 --ASRP
• NASA is a non-regulatory
– Prohibition against use of agency.
reports for enforcement action. – They have no authority to
• Federal Register, Vol 41, direct corrective action or to
No. 74 – April 1976 initiate enforcement action.
– Describes FAA and NASA • NASA has sole authority
use of ASRS Information.
– Make return calls to any
• MOA/IA reporter without the
– Outlines the roles and requirement to inform the
responsibilities of the FAA FAA of the information that
and NASA. may identify the reporter.
FAA ASRP Policy
• Grants limited immunity from FAA enforcement action
This means that a person may receive a waiver of imposition of a
sanction by the FAA.
• Anonymity is assured, in all respects, to the extent
permitted by law.
• Exceptions to Immunity:
– The incident cannot have been deliberate, criminal, or
resulted in an accident.
– The reporter cannot have been involved in enforcement
action within the previous five years.
– The incident must be reported within 10 days.
• Reporting Forms: Reporters are encouraged to use NASA
FORM 277. Other written reports may be used.
• ASRS Form 277: After the NASA review the top portion
of the form is detached and returned to the reporter.
• Top portion of form: The only record of the incident
report with the reporter's name. Should be maintained by
• Reports: NASA will review, code, and enter information
into database. Two analysts will examine each full-form
• Callbacks: The analyst will determine if a callback to the
reporter for additional information is required.
• Two categories of Alert Messages: Alert Bulletins (AB’s) and For
Your Information (FYI) notices. NASA imparts safety alerts to the
FAA and industry for investigation and/or corrective action.
– Alert Bulletins (AB): Early warning reports issued by
NASA to inform the FAA, the NTSB, and the aviation
industry of air, equipment, ground, or any other safety
or security hazards.
– For Your Information (FYI) notices: Notices issued
by NASA that inform the FAA and aviation industry of
conditions that may be sufficient for hazards or indicate
an adverse safety or security trends.
• Data Searches:
– Search Requests
• Processing of database searches and analyses for specific or
general information. (e.g., wake turbulence, digital avionics
hardware and software problems, TCAS II Incident, Airport
Ramp Safety Incidents, and LAHSO). No costs associated.
Timeframe: Approximately 3 weeks.
– Structured Callbacks
• A quantitative and qualitative research tool that can be used to
describe inferential and descriptive statistics and data. NASA
will, in conjunction with the specific requestor, develop
methodologies and research questionnaires.
• Quick Responses:
– Detailed data research projects on specific subjects.
Timeframe: Approximately 2-4 weeks.
• Topical Research:
– In-depth data collation performed over extended period
frequently lasting several months or years.
Comprehensive examination of operational safety
– Directline: Periodic publications (available on
the internet) that contains technical information
directed to specific groups or organizations in
the aviation community.
– Callback: Not to be confused with NASA’s
research criteria called Structured Callback.
CALLBACK is a monthly safety bulletin
(available on the internet) that includes excerpts
of research studies and related aviation safety
• Report Intake -- • Full Form Processing
– 1999: 34,831 – 1999: 9,318
– 1998: 34,348 – 1998: 8,363
– 1997: 32,875 – 1997: 8,024
– 1996: 32,322 – 1996: 7,920
• Full form is a
of the submitted report.
Initial Input Data
• Air Traffic Controller: 730 Air Traffic Controller: 844
• Air Carrier: 23258 Air Carrier: 22802
• Air Taxi: 1072 Air Taxi: 1308
• General Aviation: 8023 General Aviation: 7866
• Mechanics: 687 Mechanics: 436
• Flight Attendants: 737 Flight Attendants: 662
• Other: 324 Other: 430
• Original charter to identify deficiencies and discrepancies.
• Since 1976 over 460,00 reports filed.
• 57% of today’s reports identify risks and hazards.
• Continues to be the world’s largest and longest operating
voluntary aviation incident reporting program.
• Graphical User Interface (GUI).
• ASRP outreach U.S. colleges and universities with
avionics, aviation safety or other aviation related programs.
– Purpose: Greater understanding of the program and system
ASRS Data benefits
• Data used to identify;
– Possible causes of pilot and controller errors.
This led, in part, to prevention strategies like;
• Crew resource Management (CRM) AC revision to
improve decision making and coordination efforts.
• Help in the establishment of FAA/ARAC group for
new autopilot airworthiness criteria.
• Aided FAA in ATC separation criteria for avoiding
wake turbulence accidents and incidents.
• Airport ramp safety.
Response to Alerts
– Aids the FAA in mitigating risks, hazards, or
– Aids the FAA in conducting safety risk assessments,
I.e., LAHSO and Runway Inclusions.
• ASRS data was used as pointers to the problem and used as
examples to indicate possible factors involved.
– Extends to all FAA offices: Air traffic, flight standards,
aviation security, etc. ASRS cannot be the only source
for statistically meaningful analysis.
FAA / NASA Web Site
• FAA • NASA
• http://nasdac.faa.gov • http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov
– Includes: – Includes:
• Callback Publications
• Weather Study
• Reporting Forms
• Immunity Provisions
• Aviation Safety Data
Accessibility Study • Cross-link to FAA Web
Site for FAR’s,
Directives, AIM, etc