ALPA Hosts Safety Data Sharing Symposium

Scores of line pilot safety representatives, together with FAA and industry representatives, gathered in Washington, D.C. today to discuss voluntary safety data gathering programs and ways to make these vitally important programs even better.

Welcoming attendees to the ALPA Safety Data Sharing Symposium, Capt. Charles Hogeman (United), ALPA Aviation Safety chairman, noted, “ALPA believes that careful development, implementation, and the ongoing operation of voluntary safety programs is crucial to maintaining the safe airline operations that our members and our customers have come to expect in the United States and Canada. Whether it be highly accurate and technical data recorded for a FOQA program, or thoughtful pilot reporting in an ASAP program, data is the fuel for a company’s safety culture or a safety management system.”

The challenge, Hogeman added, “is to determine who needs what and to ensure that safety data, particularly shared safety data, is used only for safety purposes.”

Captains Mike Schilz (DAL) and Skip Sampson (PDT) provided an overview of ASAP and FOQA policy and led a roundtable discussion of the status of these programs at the attendees’ airlines.

Capt. Leja Noe (MAG), her pilot group’s Central Air Safety Chairman, offered a thought-provoking perspective on the importance, but difficulties, of measuring success in ASAP and FOQA programs. The symposium attendees then split into four breakout groups, each brainstorming about ways to improve objective measurement, feedback and education, FOQA, and networking for safety.

FAA Inspector Les Smith and Dr. Doug Farrow, both of the FAA Flight Standards Service, discussed recent changes to management personnel assignments at FAA headquarters. They also briefed the group on Flight Standards’ ongoing project to update FAA Advisory Circular 120-66C, which lays out guidance for ASAP programs.

Capt. Sean Cassidy (ALA), ALPA First Vice President and National Safety Coordinator, moderated a panel on “The Future of Data Gathering and ASAP/FOQA.”

The symposium’s final session covered the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system, a five-year-old government-industry collaboration that draws together 131 data systems throughout the United States. Hogeman moderated a panel that included FAA, NTSB, and airline industry representatives.