NASA releases controversial survey

January 3, 2008

NASA releases controversial survey

By Alton K. Marsh

NASA paid for a survey of both airline and general aviation pilots between 2001 and 2004, but never released it until a Freedom of Information request was filed by a news organization.

As of yet there are no conclusions or analyses, but it appears to be mostly raw data about blown altitude assignments, potential midair collisions, and comments from airline pilots about flying while tired.

NASA officials recently consulted with AOPA and other aviation organizations before releasing the data. AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg confirmed that he had spoken to NASA about the release of the data.

“I served on the NASA’s advisory committee for the Aviation Safety Reporting System several years ago. I and others questioned the need for the survey. We already have the Aviation Safety Reporting System, the FAA Safety Hotline, and every airline has its own Aviation Safety Awareness Program that works in cooperation with the FAA to report problems,” Landsberg said.

The FAA has confirmed that it has strengthened the safety hotline, adding personnel and placing its control last year under the FAA’s office of accident investigation. The three systems have well-documented problems that pilots and crews face.

“If there is something new here, we haven’t seen it yet,” Landsberg said.

January 3, 2008