Callback, the safety newsletter for the aviation community

Yes the "S" in NASA stands for "Space", but don't forget that the "A" stands for "Aeronautics". One of the programs that I (amateur aviation wannabe) find fascinating is the Aviation Safety Reporting System, where pilots can submit anonymous reports of "stupid things I have done" in order to teach other pilots "Don't do what I did."

Back issues of their newsletter, Callback, are online.

Comments (9)
  1. Matt says:

    The beauty of this form is, not only does it teach other pilots, "don’t do what I did," but it also makes it very difficult for the FAA to prosecute pilots for the infraction to which they confess on the forms.

    I don’t know the details, but in many cases the "NASA form" is a get out of jail free card for pilots who broke the rules.

  2. Keith Moore [exmsft] says:

    Matt: ASRS is certainly not a "get out of jail free card". It provides no protection for flagrant rules violations.

    You cannot, to use an extreme example, drink a few beers, hop into your plane, fly around drunk, land at a towered airport without a clearance, then expect to file an ASRS form and forget about it.

  3. jamesl says:

    Immunity policy from the document:

    See paragraph five.

  4. Eric Lippert says:

    A friend of mine is in charge of reactor safety systems at a Canadian nuclear power plant, and he gets a newsletter with a similar column for reactor safety. It’s alternately reassuring — the safety systems do work well — and a combination of hilarious and deeply worrying — there really are some bozos out there. Stuff like "a guard was accidentally shot during horseplay." What, the guards are playing cowboys and indians with live ammo on their breaks? Seems unwise.

  5. Anonymous Coward says:

    JACDEC is also fascinating to read. It includes almost all commercial accidents and incidents worldwide. Given how many flights there are every day, it is a good indication just how rare accidents and incidents are:

  6. Chris Walker says:

    These guys are great.

    They process an enormous number of reports per year, and provide this newsletter that is well written and drills into rare events as well as common ones. They distribute the newsletter in General Aviation waiting rooms and other places.

    Apparently, the FAA was a little bent out of shape with some of their studies. Some of the conclusions went against FAA policies. Always nice to have checks and balances.

    There was one newsletter that covered several accidents involving flight instructors. In one case, the instructor changed something while the student was going down a checklist, and the net result was a landing with the landing gear retracted. The propeller suddenly stopping was their clue that something was wrong.

  7. Keith Moore [exmsft] says:

    Chris: What is the first thing a pilot does after a "gear up" landing?

    Answer: Put the gear lever in the "down" position.

  8. Petr Kadlec says:

    Question: How do you recognize you have landed with gear up?

    Answer: You are unable to taxi even with full power.


  9. Alex Chiang says:

    There is a similar journal in the climbing world — Accidents in North American Mountaineering (ANAM) where people can submit accident reports with postmortem analysis so that others can learn from the mistakes.

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