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Aviation Safety: FAA Near Midair Collision Reports

Description: This report discusses the minimum separation distance in a near midair collision report which the event must meet in order to be classified a "near miss." If a pilot of flight crew member subjectively believes that the near miss occurred, the report of that event is accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and counts as a near miss in the FAA data base regardless of the actual separation distance. While no proximity limits are placed on near midair collision reports, the agency does attempt to categorize each reported encounter by degree of hazard represented from an aviation safety perspective.
Date: August 13, 1987
Creator: Moore, J. Glen
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Proposed Cuts to Air Traffic Control Towers Under Budget Sequestration: Background and Considerations for Congress

Description: This report discusses the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) and air traffic control tower funding, which provided for automatic reductions to most federal discretionary spending if no agreement on deficit reduction was reached by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Date: March 26, 2013
Creator: Elias, Bart
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Information on FAA's Data on Operational Errors At Air Traffic Control Towers

Description: Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "A fundamental principle of aviation safety is the need to maintain adequate separation between aircraft and to ensure that aircraft maintain a safe distance from terrain, obstructions, and airspace that is not designated for routine air travel. Air traffic controllers employ separation rules and procedures that define safe separation in the air and on the ground.1 An operational error occurs when the separation rules and procedures are not followed due to equipment or human error. Data maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicate that a very small number of operational errors occur in any given year--on average about three operational errors per day occurred in fiscal year 2002. However, some of these occurrences can pose safety risks by directing aircraft onto converging courses and, potentially, midair collisions. Congress asked us to provide information on FAA's data on operational errors and whether this data can be used to identify types of air traffic control facilities with greater safety risks. Specifically, we were asked to (1) determine what is known about the reliability and validity of the data that FAA maintains on operational errors and (2) identify whether comparisons of operational errors among air traffic control facilities can be used to determine the facilities' relative safety record."
Date: September 23, 2003
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: FAA Needs to Strengthen the Management of Its Designee Programs

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The safety of the flying public and the reliability of the nation's aircraft depend, in part, on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) regulation and certification of the aviation industry. FAA delegates the vast majority of its safety certification activities to about 13,600 private persons and organizations, known as "designees," which are currently grouped into 18 different programs. Among other tasks, designees perform physical examinations to ensure that pilots are medically fit to fly and examine the airworthiness of aircraft. GAO reviewed (1) the strengths of FAA's designee programs, (2) the weaknesses of those programs and factors contributing to those weaknesses, and (3) potential improvements to the programs."
Date: October 8, 2004
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: FAA Efforts Have Improved Safety, but Challenges Remain in Key Areas

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is responsible for approving the design and airworthiness of new aircraft and equipment before they are introduced into service. FAA approves changes to aircraft and equipment based on evaluation of industry submissions against standards set forth in federal aviation regulations and related guidance documents. In September 2011, we reported that, overall, FAA did a good job following its certification processes in assessing the composite fuselage and wings of Boeing's 787 against its airworthiness standards. However, the approval process--referred to as certification--presents challenges for FAA in terms of resources and maintaining up-to-date knowledge of industry practices, two issues that may hinder FAA's efforts to conduct certifications in an efficient and timely manner. FAA is currently assessing its certification process and identifying opportunities to streamline it."
Date: April 16, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: FAA Has An Opportunity to Enhance Safety and Improve Oversight of Initial Pilot Training

Description: A statement of record issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "FAA’s pilot training requirements for certification of commercial pilots are not aligned with airline operations or emphasize skills that airlines consider important for greater aviation safety."
Date: March 20, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Improved Data Quality and Analysis Capabilities Are Needed as FAA Plans a Risk-Based Approach to Safety Oversight

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To improve aviation safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to have in place the initial capabilities of a risk-based approach to safety oversight, known as a safety management system (SMS), by the end of fiscal year 2010. FAA is also implementing new procedures and technologies to enhance the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the national airspace system. Data are central to SMS and FAA's ability to test the impact of these changes on safety. This congressionally requested report addresses FAA's (1) current and planned use of data to oversee aviation safety, (2) access to data for monitoring aviation safety and the safety performance of various industry sectors, and (3) efforts to help ensure data quality. To perform this work, GAO reviewed 13 databases that contain data on key aviation safety events, assessed data quality controls for the databases, and interviewed agency and industry officials, as well as 10 experts in aviation safety and data."
Date: May 6, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Improved Planning Could Help FAA Address Challenges Related to Winter Weather Operations

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Ice formation on aircraft can disrupt the smooth flow of air over the wings and prevent the aircraft from taking off or decrease the pilot's ability to maintain control of the aircraft. Takeoff and landing operations can also be risky in winter weather. Despite persistent efforts by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and others to mitigate icing risks, icing remains a serious concern. GAO reviewed (1) the extent to which commercial airplanes have experienced accidents and incidents related to icing, (2) FAA's inspection and enforcement activities related to icing, (3) the efforts of FAA and others to improve safety in winter weather, and (4) the challenges that continue to affect aviation safety in winter weather. GAO analyzed data obtained from FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and others. Further, GAO obtained information from FAA and NTSB officials and representatives of key aviation industry stakeholders."
Date: July 29, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Enhanced Oversight and Improved Availability of Risk- Based Data Could Further Improve Safety

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Takeoffs, landings, and movement around the surface areas of airports (the terminal area) are critical to the safe and efficient movement of air traffic. The nation's aviation system is arguably the safest in the world, but close calls involving aircraft or other vehicles at or near airports are common, occurring almost daily. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides oversight of the terminal area and has taken action to improve safety, but has been called upon by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and others to take additional steps to improve its oversight. As requested, this report addresses (1) recent actions FAA has taken to improve safety in the terminal area, (2) recent trends in terminal area safety and factors contributing to those trends, and (3) any additional actions FAA could take to improve safety in the terminal area. To address these issues, GAO analyzed data from FAA data; reviewed reports and FAA documents; and interviewed federal and industry officials."
Date: October 5, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Better Data and Targeted FAA Efforts Needed to Identify and Address Safety Issues of Small Air Cargo Carriers

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The air cargo industry contributed over $37 billion to the U.S. economy in 2008 and provides government, businesses, and individuals with quick delivery of goods. Although part of an aviation system with an extraordinary safety record, there have been over 400 air cargo accidents and over 900 incidents since 1997, raising concerns about cargo safety. GAO's congressionally requested study addresses (1) recent trends in air cargo safety, (2) factors that have contributed to air cargo accidents, (3) federal government and industry efforts to improve air cargo safety and experts' views on the effectiveness of these efforts, and (4) experts' views on further improving air cargo safety. To perform the study, GAO analyzed agency data, surveyed a panel of experts, reviewed industry and government documents, and interviewed industry and government officials. GAO also conducted site visits to Alaska, Ohio, and Texas."
Date: June 24, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Status of Recommendations to Improve FAA's Certification and Approval Processes

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 2010, GAO reported that industry stakeholders and experts believed that the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) certification and approval processes contribute positively to the safety of the national airspace system. However, stakeholders and experts also noted that negative certification and approval experiences--such as duplication of approvals--although infrequent, can result in delays that industry says are costly. GAO made two recommendations requiring, among other things, that FAA develop a continuous evaluative process and a method to track submission approvals. FAA addressed one recommendation and partially addressed the other. An FAA-industry committee established in response to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (the Act) made six recommendations to improve the certification and approval processes, including establishing a performance measurement process. In response to recommendations from the certification process committee, FAA developed an implementation plan with 14 initiatives, but the initiatives do not contain some elements essential to a performance measurement process, such as performance measures. Without performance measures, FAA will be unable to evaluate current and future programs."
Date: October 30, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: FAA Management Practices for Technical Training Mostly Effective; Further Actions Could Enhance Results

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "One key way that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) makes air travel safer is to inspect the manufacture, operation, and maintenance of aircraft that fly in the United States. To better direct its resources, FAA is shifting from an inspection process that relied on spot-checks of compliance with regulations to one that evaluates operating procedures and analyzes inspection data to identify areas that pose the most risk to safety (called system safety). While FAA believes the new approach requires some technical knowledge of aircraft, Congress and GAO have long-standing concerns over whether FAA inspectors have enough technical knowledge to effectively identify risks. GAO reviewed the extent that FAA follows effective management practices in ensuring that inspectors receive up-to-date technical training. In addition, GAO is reporting on technical training that the aviation industry provides to FAA."
Date: September 7, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Additional FAA Efforts Could Enhance Safety Risk Management

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its business lines and offices are in different stages of their implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS). FAA finalized its agency-wide implementation plan in April 2012, and the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) has completed its SMS implementation, but other FAA SMS efforts are in the early stages. FAA business lines, such as the Aviation Safety Organization (AVS) and the Office of Airports (ARP), have SMS guidance and plans largely in place and have begun to integrate related practices into their operations, but many implementation tasks remain incomplete, and officials and experts project that full SMS implementation could take many years."
Date: September 12, 2012
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Status of FAA's Actions to Oversee the Safety of Composite Airplanes

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Composite materials, made by combining materials such as carbon fibers with epoxy, have been used in airplane components for decades. Although composites are lighter and stronger than most metals, their increasing use in commercial airplane structures such as the fuselage and wings has raised safety concerns. Boeing's 787 is the first mostly composite large commercial transport airplane to undergo the certification process. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certify new airplane designs and evaluate the airworthiness of novel features--like composite structures--against existing safety standards, which are often based on the performance of metallic airplanes. In August 2011, FAA and EASA certified the 787, which is expected to enter commercial service in the fall of 2011. GAO was asked to review FAA's and EASA's certification processes and FAA's oversight of the composite airplanes once they enter service. GAO examined how FAA and EASA assessed the use of composite materials in the Boeing 787 fuselage and wings, and the extent to which FAA has addressed safety-related concerns associated with the repair and maintenance of composite airplanes. GAO reviewed certification documentation, conducted a literature search, discussed repair and maintenance issues with experts, and interviewed FAA and EASA officials and Boeing representatives. GAO is not making recommendations in this report. FAA, EASA, Boeing, and others provided technical comments, which"
Date: September 21, 2011
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: FAA's Safety Oversight System Is Effective but Could Benefit from Better Evaluation of Its Programs' Performance

Description: A statement of record issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. commercial aviation industry has an extraordinary safety record. However, when passenger airlines have accidents or serious incidents, regardless of their rarity, the consequences can be tragic. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) works to maintain a high level of safety through an effective safety oversight system. Keys to this system are to: (1) establish programs that focus resources on areas of highest safety risk and on mitigating risks; (2) provide training and communication to ensure that inspectors can consistently carry out the agency's oversight programs; and (3) have processes and data to continuously monitor, evaluate, and improve the numerous oversight programs that make up the safety oversight system. This statement focuses on these three key areas and is based on recent GAO reports on FAA's inspection oversight programs, industry partnership programs, enforcement program, and training program."
Date: November 17, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: System Safety Approach Needs Further Integration into FAA's Oversight of Airlines

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses the Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS), which was developed around the principles of system safety, to oversee seven "legacy airlines" and nine other airlines. In this report, we refer to airlines that are not in ATOS as non-legacy airlines. Two other processes are used to oversee 99 non-legacy passenger airlines, which represent a fast-growing segment of the commercial aviation passenger industry and carried about 200 million passengers in 2004. The National Work Program Guidelines (NPG) establishes a set of inspection activities for non-legacy airlines. The Surveillance and Evaluation Program (SEP) uses principles of system safety to identify additional risk-based inspections for those airlines. GAO's objective was to assess the processes used by FAA to ensure the safety of non-legacy passenger airlines. GAO reviewed the strengths of FAA's inspection oversight for non-legacy passenger airlines and the issues that hinder its effectiveness."
Date: September 28, 2005
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Information on the Safety Effects of Modifying the Age Standard for Commercial Pilots

Description: Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act (the act) extended the federal age standard for pilots of large commercial aircraft from 60 to 65 years of age. The act also requires us to report--no later than 24 months after its enactment--on the effect, if any, of this change on aviation safety. This report responds to that requirement."
Date: October 30, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Proposed Cuts to Air Traffic Control Towers Under Budget Sequestration: Background and Considerations for Congress

Description: This report provides and overview of budget sequester and air traffic control. The report discusses air traffic control tower funding, effect of tower closures, possible technology remedies to potential safety impacts and related legislation.
Date: May 7, 2013
Creator: Elias, Bart
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Screening and Securing Air Cargo: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The October 2010 discovery of two explosive devices being prepared for loading on U.S.-bound all-cargo aircraft overseas has heightened concerns over the potential use of air cargo shipments to bomb passenger and all-cargo aircraft. This incident renewed congressional interest in air cargo security. This report discusses a number of policy issues that may arise regarding air cargo security.
Date: December 2, 2010
Creator: Elias, Bart
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Safer Skies Initiative Has Taken Initial Steps to Reduce Accident Rates by 2007

Description: A chapter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Safer Skies Initiative, focusing on: (1) to what extent addressing the safety problems to be addressed by the initiative will help reduce the fatal accident rate; (2) what progress the initiative has made in identifying and implementing interventions to address each of these safety problems; (3) what progress has been made in assessing the effectiveness of those interventions; and (4) how FAA is coordinating the Safer Skies initiative with other safety activities conducted throughout the agency, in partnership with the aviation industry, and by other federal agencies."
Date: June 30, 2000
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: Icing and Winter Weather-Related Recommendations That NTSB Has Issued Since 1996 (GAO-10-679SP), an E-supplement to (GAO-10-678)

Description: Other written product issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "This document is an E-supplement to GAO-10-678. Ice formation on aircraft can disrupt the smooth flow of air over the wings and prevent the aircraft from taking off or decrease the pilot's ability to maintain control of the aircraft. Taxi and landing operations can also be risky in winter weather. Despite a variety of technologies designed to prevent ice from forming on planes and to remove ice that has formed, as well as persistent efforts by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other stakeholders to mitigate icing risks, icing remains a serious concern. Since 1996, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued 89 recommendations aimed at reducing risks from in-flight structural icing, engine and aircraft component icing, runway condition and contamination, ground icing, and winter weather operations. Eighty-two of the recommendations were addressed to FAA, four were addressed to air carriers, one was addressed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and one was addressed to the National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA). This e-supplement lists icing and winter weather-related recommendations that NTSB has issued since 1996, including the number, issue date, close data, most-wanted status, and description of each recommendation."
Date: July 29, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aviation Safety: FAA's New Inspection System Offers Promise, but Problems Need to Be Addressed

Description: A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS), focusing on: (1) to what extent ATOS addresses past concerns about FAA's aviation safety inspections; (2) what factors, if any, surfaced during the implementation of ATOS that could impede its success; and (3) what FAA is doing to address any factors that could impede the success of ATOS."
Date: June 28, 1999
Creator: United States. General Accounting Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department