FAA's New Approach Has Appeal
Data mining, analysis will help push aviation safety to a higher level.
- By Jerry Laws
- Dec 01, 2006
applaud the Federal Aviation
Administration's FAA Safety Team (a/k/a the FAASTeam), which was rolled out Oct.
1, because it represents out-of-the-box thinking. Ask yourself this: When was
the last time I spoke the words "safety" and "out of the
box" in the same sentence? Too often, our industry watches the same
trailing indicators, recycles old approaches, and spurns new technologies. Yet
we insist we want better results.
FAA said it seeks a culture change that
will take aviation safety to a new level by helping aircraft owners, pilots,
and mechanics avoid mistakes that lead to accidents. The keys to the plan are data
mining, input from local FAA inspectors, and a change in how the agency
analyzes accident data. "There's plenty of data available on aircraft
accidents, but it's often difficult to determine exactly what the data says
should be done to reduce accidents," FAA said in its announcement.
"The FAASTeam is developing a web-based 'Data Mart' specifically to give
each FAASTeam program manager the correct data for his or her geographic area.
This will include accident data for airmen who live in one area, but actually
had an accident in another area. This is an important new concept. Previously,
accident data was summarized by where the accidents occurred.
address those accident causes were developed and delivered in that area--but
many airmen who had the problem, and others like them, were not there to
receive it. The FAASTeam will reach these airmen on their home turf, not in the
area of the accident site."
FAASTeam managers will develop topics and
tasks for use in an annually prepared plan of action, then regional managers
and representatives will deliver the safety message to airmen locally.
"The coordinated effort of all these FAASTeam members is what will cause the
safety culture to tip in the right direction," FAA said.
Will it work? Conventional wisdom might say
U.S. aviation safety is already superb and shouldn't be toyed with. I take the
opposite view: It's not good enough, and a new approach is the best way to push
it higher. For a closer look at how this will work and for updates, visit
This column appeared in the December 2006 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.
This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.
Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.