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Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR)
Flight Safety Foundation

Current Safety Initiatives


Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) has launched many technical initiatives that have contributed to the improvement of aviation safety worldwide. The contributions began when the Foundation was created in 1947. That year, the Foundation organized the first civil aviation accident investigation workshop and sponsored the first international air safety seminar.

Over the years, FSF technical efforts have been instrumental in spurring worldwide recognition of the value of flight data recorders, aircraft anticollision lights, aircraft rescue and fire fighting training and standardization of pilot training.

During the Foundation’s history, technical efforts also have included the following achievements:

  • The first computer modeling of human reactions to accident forces, which led to improvement of passenger-seat-restraint systems;

  • The first international civil aviation safety-oriented anonymous pilot-reporting system, which became the model for similar programs throughout the world;

  • The first collection and distribution of aircraft mechanical-malfunction reports, a task that now is performed by several civil aviation authorities;

  • Landmark studies that provided the basis for medical standards for pilots and air traffic controllers worldwide;

  • Explosion-resistant fuel tanks for helicopters, which the U.S. military credits with saving thousands of lives; and,

  • Prompting worldwide awareness of the hazards of “bogus” aircraft parts (that is, parts not designed and/or manufactured to required standards).

In the early 1990s, the Foundation launched a major effort to prevent accidents involving controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), which occurs when an airworthy aircraft under the control of the flight crew is flown unintentionally into terrain, obstacles or water, usually with no prior awareness by the crew.

The international FSF CFIT Task Force was created in 1992 and completed its work in 1995. The task force achieved its goal of reducing CFIT accidents by 50 percent within five years.

The international FSF Approach-and-landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) Task Force was created in 1996 as another phase of CFIT accident reduction. In 1998, the task force presented its findings and recommendations for reducing approach-and-landing accidents (ALAs). The task force continues to develop tools for reducing ALAs.

Faced with a stubborn question that offered no clear answers — Why do experienced, well-trained people continue to make errors that result in accidents? — the Foundation in 1992 formed the FSF Icarus Committee, a small group of specialists from throughout the aviation industry, to study human factors issues in aviation safety.

The FSF Icarus Committee has contributed greatly to the understanding of human factors accidents and has provided many tools for preventing such mishaps. The committee also is directing the flight operations risk assessment (FORAS) project, which uses advanced mathematical modeling techniques to quantify risks associated with aviation operations.

The Foundation has been a leading proponent of worldwide use of flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) programs, which obtain and analyze data recorded in flight operations to improve flight-crew performance, air carrier training programs, operating procedures, air traffic control procedures, airport maintenance and design, and aircraft operations and design. A 1993 FSF report on FOQA has been the blueprint for FOQA progress in the United States.

The Foundation in 1994 developed materials to expand the training of pilots in the avoidance of two of the most problematic causes of accidents: wind shear and fatigue.

  • At the request of U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Foundation developed the Wind-shear Training Aid for pilots operating commuter, air taxi, corporate and other general aviation aircraft. The multimedia training aid includes an instructional video, slides, study booklets and training documents, student/instructor self-teaching guides, ground school and simulator training, and a computer-based training program.

  • The FSF Fatigue Countermeasures Task Force, comprising more than 30 representatives from 21 aviation organizations, developed “Principles and Guidelines for Duty and Rest Scheduling in Corporate and Business Aviation.” [PDF 195K] The document provides information that enables flight department managers and corporate/business pilots to make sound scheduling decisions.

In 1999, the Foundation presented the findings of an exploratory study on continuing airworthiness risk evaluation (CARE). The study focused on whether current information sources could be used more effectively to identify and quantify factors that affect the continuing airworthiness of aircraft and aircraft systems.

The Foundation’s technical initiatives continue to focus on the following priorities:

  • Reducing the overall accident rate;

  • Reducing accidents caused by human factors;

  • Reducing CFIT and ALAs; and,

  • Reducing aircraft loss-of-control accidents.

The Foundation currently is leading or is actively participating in virtually all major aviation safety-improvement efforts that are being conducted worldwide.