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Aviation Safety Subcommittee

Members

  • Nicole Pisaecki (Subcommittee Chair)
  • Juan Alonso
  • David Barger
  • Robert Lekites
  • William McGee
  • John Conley
  • Susan Baer

Background

The U.S. aviation fatal accident rate is the lowest since the beginning of air travel.  The number of fatal commercial aviation accidents has decreased by nearly 80% since the mid 1990’s.  Significant safety gains have also been achieved in the aviation community due, in part, to government/industry efforts to set priorities and address the highest safety risks.

To build upon this safety record in the future, it is important to identify the best practices for reducing aviation accidents.  The FAA receives numerous safety recommendations and legislative mandates to adopt new measures to address threats to safety.  However the number of recommendations and mandates exceed the capacity of the FAA and aviation industry.  A focused safety agenda will help ensure that the regulator and aviation community afford priority to the most critical safety issues.

Initial Questions

  • Can the Committee suggest ways the FAA can prioritize its safety agenda?
  • What measures other than rulemaking are available to quickly adopt the most pressing initiatives?

To achieve a greater level of safety, traditional methods of analyzing the cause of accidents or incidents may not be enough.  The Safety Management System (SMS) has been recognized as a tool to identify safety risks before they evolve into incident or accidents.  SMS is a systemic and continuous management process based on proactive identification and analysis of dangers.  An industry Aviation Rulemaking Committee recently recommended the adoption of SMS for all major segments of the U.S. industry.

Initial Questions

  • How might FAA incentivize the aviation industry to adopt voluntary data programs? How might confidentially submitted information be used to enhance the effectiveness of the Safety Management System?
  • How might adoption of SMS reduce regulatory burdens to industry without undermining public confidence in the air transportation system?
  • Should the FAA provide regulatory accommodation to companies adopting innovative programs to improve safety? 

For example, companies maturing to an appropriate level of SMS might receive expedited approvals for new equipment, maintenance changes, etc. At the extreme, FAA approvals could even be eliminated if appropriate SMS programs were in place. The Committee is asked to provide recommendations for other areas where mature SMS programs could help industry.

Record of meeting

Updated: Monday, May 20, 2013