Aviation Safety: Improved Data Quality and Analysis Capabilities Are Needed as FAA Plans a Risk-Based Approach to Safety Oversight, Report to Congressional Requesters [open pdf - 698KB]
From the Highlights: "To improve aviation safety, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to have in place the initial capabilities of a risk-based approach to safety oversight, known as a safety management system (SMS), by the end of fiscal year 2010. FAA is also implementing new procedures and technologies to enhance the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the national airspace system. Data are central to SMS and FAA's ability to test the impact of these changes on safety. This congressionally requested report addresses FAA's (1) current and planned use of data to oversee aviation safety, (2) access to data for monitoring aviation safety and the safety performance of various industry sectors, and (3) efforts to help ensure data quality. To perform this work, GAO [Government Accountability Office] reviewed 13 databases that contain data on key aviation safety events, assessed data quality controls for the databases, and interviewed agency and industry officials, as well as 10 experts in aviation safety and data. GAO recommends efforts to improve FAA's capability to use data for oversight, including developing a comprehensive data management plan; identifying and, to the extent feasible, addressing reasons for nonparticipation in voluntary reporting programs; and applying data quality controls to more databases, as appropriate. The agency agreed to consider GAO's recommendations."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/