Accession Number : ADA334086

Title :   Aviation Safety: Efforts to Implement Flight Operational Quality Assurance Programs.

Corporate Author : GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIV

PDF Url : ADA334086

Report Date : DEC 1997

Pagination or Media Count : 41

Abstract : The analysis of aircraft data recorded during flight has played a crucial role in determining the causes of crashes. Recently, however, some U.S. airlines have begun to analyze flight data from uneventful airline flights to identify potential problems and correct them before they lead to accidents. GAO was asked examine efforts by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. airlines to implement Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs. The objective of a FOQA program is to use flight data to detect technical flaws, unsafe practices, or conditions outside of desired operating procedures early enough to allow timely intervention to avert accidents or incidents. These programs are voluntary efforts by airlines that involve equipping aircraft with specialized devices to continuously record up to hundreds of different flight data parameters from aircraft systems and sensors, analyzing the data, identifying trends, and taking action to correct potential problems. The analysis of flight data allows airlines to reconstruct entire flights on the basis of the values over time of flight data parameters, such as heading, altitude, throttle settings, ground speed, and many others. Currently, about 33 foreign airlines and 4 U.S. airlines - United, U.S. Airways, Continental, and Alaska - have implemented FOQA or FOQA-type programs. You requested that we determine (1) how FOQA programs will enhance aviation safety, (2) the costs and benefits of such programs, and (3) the factors that could impede their full implementation and actions that could be taken to overcome any impediments.

Descriptors :   *COMMERCIAL AVIATION, *QUALITY ASSURANCE, *AVIATION SAFETY, DETECTORS, DATA ACQUISITION.

Subject Categories : Military Aircraft Operations
      Flight Control and Instrumentation

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE