ATSAP - A Decade Later
The Air Traffic Safety Action Program marked a real turning point for the ATO in bolstering safety and improving trust and collaboration with NATCA.
Prior to implementing ATSAP, air traffic controllers were reluctant to provide much detail about incidents because they feared punitive measures. That hindered us from getting enough information to pinpoint causes of safety events, notice trends and identify solutions to prevent risks.
It took a while to build the trust needed to make this voluntary, non-punitive reporting process work. But I think it’s safe to say ATSAP works – we have had more than 150,000 reports come in over the last 10 years. We get reports on everything from a missed approach to a radar outage.
These reports are evaluated by Event Review Committees in each of the three service areas, with each committee averaging about 120 reports every week. The committees help us determine what safety enhancements may be necessary as a result.
We have had more than 700 ATSAP “positives,” which include rules that have been changed, processes that have been improved and behaviors that have been corrected. Also as a result of ATSAP, we have received 184 corrective action requests, and 106 have resulted in positive mitigations that led to safety improvements. Another 55 are nearing completion for a safety mitigation. Recent improvements range from replacing unreliable emergency communication lines at Louisville, increasing visibility at the Lake Hood tower in Alaska, and trimming trees that obstructed controller views of runways in Flint, Mich. (FNT).
The information we gather from ATSAP contributes to other proactive safety tools like Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) too.
ATSAP has continued to evolve. Now, any controller, staff support specialist, operations supervisor or facility management personnel can report a potential safety problem or event from their smartphone.
This is a great example of what can come from collaborating and trusting one another. It’s worthwhile to consider the factors that led to a lapse and share the details so everyone can benefit from these lessons.
Thanks to everyone who helped make ATSAP a success, and a special thanks to those who continue to file reports in the system to help us identify problems and solutions. Happy 10th Anniversary!