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There is an increasing need to monitor incident and accident precursor trends and identify non-standard performance. Proliferation of hardware and software tools to monitor performance of aviation systems is being introduced to fill this need. Advanced systems for entering, storing and disseminating safety critical data for use in electronic, automated and computerized flight systems are appearing.

Since there are few commercial aviation accidents and fewer common causes, more data points are needed. Voluntary programs such as the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) program, and the Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP) give airlines and the government insight into millions of operations so that potential safety issues and trends are identified. The Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program connects 46 safety databases across the industry and is integrated into the CAST process. The program is evolving but has matured to the point that the FAA can now look at data from air carriers representing 92 percent of U.S. commercial operations and identify emerging vulnerabilities and trends. Safety improvements are made not only through FAA regulations, but also through CAST.

Potential hazard

  1. The increasing reliance on and acceptance of such systems will require comprehensive controls, procedures, and oversight to ensure that both data accuracy and integrity are maintained.
  2. While these new systems can help to identify what happened, they may not be able to identify why things happened. In the future a balance between computer and human analysis will need to be established.

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