The U.S. National Aeronautical and Space Administration’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is marking its 40th year of continuous operation. According to the April 2016 issue of Callback, the excellent monthly ASRS newsletter, the origins of ASRS can be traced to the Dec. 1, 1974, fatal crash of TWA Flight 514 on approach to Washington Dulles International Airport.
The subsequent National Transportation Safety Board investigation discovered that several weeks before the TWA accident, a United Airlines crew “had experienced an identical clearance misunderstanding and narrowly missed hitting the same Virginia mountaintop,” according to Callback. “The United crew discovered their close call after landing and reported the incident to their company. A cautionary notice was issued to all United pilots. Tragically, there existed no method of sharing the United pilots’ knowledge with TWA and other airlines. Following the TWA accident, it was determined that safety information must be shared with the entire aviation community. Thus was born the idea of a national aviation incident reporting program that would be non-punitive, voluntary, and confidential.”
Now, more than 40 years later, non-punitive, voluntary and confidential reporting is one of the critical elements to improving aviation safety around the world. For more information on ASRS, or to file a report, click here. Also, check out the recent Phys.org article on ASRS.