Safety Team Takes Aim at Aircraft Accidents
by Les Dorr, Jr.
Reprinted with permission from FAA Aviation News
On October 1, the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) ushered in a new effort to help aircraft owners,
pilots, and aviation maintenance technicians avoid mistakes that lead to
accidents. Called the FAA Safety Team, or 'FAASTeam' - the program is devoted to
decreasing aircraft accidents by promoting a cultural change in the aviation
community toward a higher level of safety.
Team uses a coordinated effort to focus resources on particularly elusive
accident causes. The program features data mining and analysis, teamwork,
instruction in the use of safety management systems and risk management tools,
and development and distribution of educational materials.
Safety in the Numbers
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. 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.
is an important new concept. Previously, accident data was summarized by where
the accidents occurred. Programs to 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 program managers are being trained to analyze the data and extract
system and human factors problems. The issues identified will be combined with
information from local FAA inspectors who certify and perform surveillance on
airmen and air operators. Together, the data and information becomes the program
manager's 'source data.' They will use source data to develop topics and tasks
that will be woven into an annual plan of action.
Regional FAASTeam managers will coordinate and prioritize the actions of their
program managers into a cohesive and efficient regional plan. All this effort is
designed to make sure resources are devoted to activities that will have the
biggest impact on the safety culture and accident rate.
The 'Team' in FAASTeam
Teamwork will allow the FAA to multiply its efforts beyond what the program
managers can do alone. The FAASTeam will develop symbiotic relationships with
individuals and industry groups that have a vested interest in aviation safety.
These individuals, called FAASTeam representatives, will work closely with the
program managers to deliver our safety message to airmen on a local level. The
coordinated effort of all these FAASTeam members is what will cause the safety
culture to tip in the right direction.
FAASTeam will bring the concept of system safety to segments of the aviation
community that have not experienced it before. Aviation operators such as
flight/mechanic schools and repair stations identified to have higher risk
levels will be provided with training on how to develop their own safety
management systems, including the tools necessary to set up their own system.
The FAASTeam will provide risk management training and tools to individual
airmen and organizations via live seminars conducted by FAASTeam Members and
online training found on the FAASTeam's Web application
Innovation = Behavior
Team is developing new products for airmen and air groups, focusing on showing
airmen how they can change their behavior to be consistent with the new safety
culture. Many of those products will be developed by working with industry
FAASTeam members. Others will come from our National Resource Center, collocated
with the FAA Production Studios in Lakeland, FL. This facility can take new
product ideas from FAASTeam members and turn them into safety products in a
variety of media, which can then be duplicated, stored, and shipped (or beamed
via satellite) wherever needed.
Decades of Safety
more than 36 years, the FAA has had a program to improve aviation safety. The
effort began as the Accident Prevention Program on June 30, 1970. That program
introduced the concept of a joint effort sponsored by the FAA and the aviation
community to reduce the aviation accident rate. Over the years, the endeavor
evolved into the Aviation Safety Program, and convincingly demonstrated that the
general aviation accident rate could be reduced. In the 1990s, the program
expanded to include aviation maintenance technicians.
highly successful, the Aviation Safety Program took a 'shotgun' approach,
educating airmen on all types of safety subjects that successfully reduced
accidents in the past. But today, the easy-to-fix accident causes have all been
addressed. The FAA has created the FAASTeam to take aviation safety one-step
Les Dorr, Jr., is a
Media Specialist in FAA's Office of Communications.