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The goal of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) is to improve aviation safety by providing a venue where pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, mechanics, ground personnel, and others involved in aviation operations can share information about unsafe situations that they have encountered or observed. Reports sent to the ASRS are held in strict confidence.
While the primary benefit is safety improvement, ASRS can also provide protection from certain FAA enforcement actions. If a pilot files an ASRS report within 10 days of a suspected violation, it is possible to avoid fines and the suspension of a pilot certificate. To receive this immunity, the following conditions must be met:
- The violation in question must be inadvertent and not deliberate.
- The violation cannot involve a criminal offense, accident, or action that demonstrates a lack of qualification or competency.
- In the five years prior to the date of the incident being reported, the individual cannot have had a violation.
- The individual is able to demonstrate that within 10 days of the incident a written report was made to NASA (either electronically or by mail). NBAA recommends the report be sent via certified mail with return receipt or overnight delivery with receipt confirmation in order to have proof if needed.
Use caution when completing the ASRS report. Text from the report and the identifying strip could lead the Agency to believe the issue was deliberate and not inadvertent.
When a report is made to ASRS, all identifying information about the submitter is removed before the report is posted. While the submission of an ASRS report can provide immunity, the FAA will maintain a record of the FAA sanction (i.e. suspension or civil penalty). For a period of five (5) years, the airman’s record will still note the violation and length of suspension that would have been imposed had the pilot not filed an ASRS report.