The FAA is committed to making Aviation Safety Action Programs (ASAPs) more flexible as part of a needed evolution to increase their effectiveness and appeal, FAA Flight Standards Service director John Duncan said last week at the Air Charter Safety Symposium in Ashburn, Virginia. As part of this, the FAA is working on a third draft of Advisory Circular (AC) 120-66C, which guides ASAPs. While there is no timeline for the AC's release, Duncan suggested that it will loosen some perceived program constraints. One example is the current push to report incidents within 24 hours.
This works well for flight operations, such as when a pilot deviates from an assigned altitude and self-reports following the flight; however, on the maintenance side mishaps are often uncovered weeks later, usually by someone other than the person who made the error.
Therefore, such maintenance incidents often go unreported because of a lack of clarity about possible ramifications. “It’s still valuable information,” Duncan said. “We don’t want tight constraints in the AC to constrain us from getting that information."