See a Safety Issue? File a NASA Report
By Jennifer Caron, FAA Safety Briefing Magazine
If I see upcoming road hazards, such as an accident or a disabled vehicle, I flash the headlights to my fellow drivers in the opposite lane. Where I live, it is a goodwill gesture to let fellow drivers know to be vigilant. That same mentality drives us to step forward, speak out, and let other people know when something’s not right.
As a maintenance professional, you are on the industry’s front lines, and we (the FAA) need your valuable input. If you, or other mechanics in your shop, see either brand new issues or “that same old problem” that you believe compromises aviation safety, please say something — and not just to those in your shop. Report your concerns to the aviation community and file a “NASA Report” online.
Your NASA Report is free, confidential, online, and there’s no punishment for reporting.
What is a NASA Report, and How Does It Work?
The “NASA Report” is the popular nickname for the officially-named NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). ASRS is a voluntary safety-reporting program funded by the FAA and administered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The “NASA Report” moniker arises from the fact that NASA, not the FAA, collects and analyzes aviation safety incident reports and keeps them confidential.
NASA’s ASRS welcomes all users to report any safety issue, especially information that could help prevent an accident. They protect your identity and the identity of all other parties involved. In fact, the FAA may not seek, and ASRS may not release to the FAA any information that might reveal the identity of any party.
ASRS collects de-identified information and the reporter’s narratives to spot deficiencies and discrepancies in the National Airspace System (NAS). These narratives provide a rich source of information for understanding the nature of hazards and enhance the basis for human factors research and recommendations for future operations.
At ASRS, human eyeballs review every single report. A minimum of two expert aviation analysts review these reports to classify the aviation hazard, de-identify it, and flag critical safety information for immediate action.
For example, when ASRS receives a high-priority/safety critical report, an alerting message goes to the appropriate FAA office or aviation authority about the safety concern. But while the FAA gets the details of the incident, they know nothing about you.
ASRS completely removes names, N-numbers, dates, times, and anything that could identify those involved. They keep your de-identified report in the database to improve safety for everyone in the NAS and so that others can learn from you.
It’s So Much More
ASRS is a living directory of invaluable information on all types of aviation safety data.
Anyone can access NASA’s ASRS database online. Aviation safety researchers, the NTSB, and GA advocate organizations such as AOPA, aircraft manufacturers, and others use the information to improve safety and training. But, the key ingredient to its success is hearing from you.
If you want a glimpse (or more) of ASRS value, take a look at their Callback newsletter and subscribe. You’ll find aircraft maintenance themes in the newsletter too, like this one on MEL-related incidents (PDF download).
See Something? Say Something.
Maintenance technicians, pilots, ground personnel — anyone who uses the NAS — can file a “NASA Report.” You can submit a report about any incident or situation that you believe compromises aviation safety — something that you saw, experienced, or were involved in — any safety issue that needs to be addressed.
Report as many times as you need, as often as you need. There’s no limit.
Although ASRS receives over 100,000 safety reports annually, the lion’s share comes from air carriers. ASRS gets only a small percentage of these safety reports from AMTs in general aviation.
We can do better! Speak up, do your part, and file a report at asrs.arc.nasa.gov. By sharing things you see or do, you may just save someone else’s life.