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EVP LeBovidge Addresses National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee

On Oct. 20, Executive Vice President Andrew LeBovidge addressed the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committee on Emerging Trends in Aviation Safety. Congress tasked this committee with identifying, categorizing, and analyzing emerging safety trends in air transportation and reviewing data and analyses from all relevant sources, including government and industry voluntary aviation safety reporting systems.

“One of our primary objectives as an organization is to preserve, promote, and improve the safety of air traffic not only within the United States but across the global aviation system, as the two are inextricably linked,” stated LeBovidge. “In order to accomplish this goal, we firmly believe that our participation in the identification of risk in the system and the development of any mitigations is of paramount importance.”

LeBovidge spoke about the importance of a healthy and robust safety culture within the aviation system, and how the Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP) has been vital in making great strides in risk identification and associated mitigation. “We need to continue to educate our workforce so they understand how their involvement in reporting can drive effective changes in the system,” he said. “By demonstrating to the workforce that changes do occur as a consequence of reporting safety concerns, the level of confidence in ATSAP will continue to build, will fuel further participation in reporting, and result in ever more source data to be used in the identification of the trends in the system.”

LeBovidge also talked about the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) adoption of changes to aviation risk identification and assessment orders that were implemented in October 2020. He said these orders provide the framework necessary to take the next steps in the evolution from a compliance-based to a risk-based approach to safety analysis. “We are very encouraged by the early results and know that through continued collaboration on future iterations, we will continue to elevate the safety of the National Airspace System by having more comprehensive data to utilize in the identification and mitigation of emerging safety trends,” he said.

In closing, LeBovidge told the committee that NATCA continues to remain committed to a true and just safety culture. “We have seen dramatic results within the FAA Air Traffic Organization and hope to achieve the same results throughout the remainder of the FAA and through collaborative partnerships with industry and private sector employers,” he said. By working together, we can continue to gain the necessary insights into what is occurring within the system and use that data to properly inform future strategies for successful mitigations of risk.”

The committee provides direct reports to Congress, the FAA, industry, and others on options for “improving means for identifying, monitoring, understanding, and addressing emerging aviation safety risks, including supplementing, improving, and harmonizing existing databases, reporting systems, and analysis methods.” The first report to Congress is due by mid-2022.

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