David Learmount/LONDON

AN AMERICAN AIRLINES aircrew "no-blame" voluntary reporting system is being studied for possible nationwide adoption in the USA.

The US Air Transport Association (ATA) says that, if adopted, it would supplement the existing NASA-administered Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS).

Safety specialists from the ATA, the major airlines, the pilots' unions and the US Federal Aviation Administration are meeting on 25-26 May, to discuss extending the concepts used in American's Airline Safety Action Partnership (ASAP) programme to the whole US airline community, says the ATA senior vice-president for operations, Al Prest. If adopted, the system could be operational by June 1996.

The ASAP is a FAA-approved voluntary pilot-reporting system, which has been operating for three years as a company scheme. It guarantees pilots who report incidents within 24h immunity against FAA legal-enforcement action. Since its introduction, the number of voluntary reports filed has increased by a factor of more than 50, the ATA reveals.

Each one is studied and de-identified by a committee consisting of representatives from American's operations management, the carrier's pilots' union - the Allied Pilots Association - and the FAA. The committee decides necessary safety measures, which can include remedial pilot training.

The ATA suggests that, a nationwide ASAP committee would consist of, representatives from participating airlines, the pilots' unions and the FAA. At present, the de-identified ASAP data are filed to the ASRS. This practice would continue but an enlarged ASAP might also disseminate de-identified information by bulletin to all carriers.

The new ASAP would operate alongside the proposed Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) system, says Prest. The FOQA is also a proposed no-blame-culture system which would use flight-data recorders/ quick-access recorders to alert airlines to operational deviations beyond agreed minima so that trends could be ascertained from a FOQA database.

Source: Flight International