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

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    NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Safety/Airworthiness
  • Abstract:
    Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs seek 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.

    At the time of this report, about 33 foreign airlines and 4 U.S. airlines-

    United, US Airways, Continental, and Alaska-have implemented FOQA or FOQA-type

    programs. This report examines (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. 42p.

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