Release #07.058
October 31, 2007

Pilots: NASA Data Must Be Analyzed
Integrity of safety reporting programs vital to aviation safety

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Capt. Terry McVenes, Executive Air Safety chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, issued the following statement after testifying today before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology.

“ALPA calls for the analysis of the data by fully qualified experts with the goal of enhancing aviation safety. The real solution is to provide NASA with the necessary resources to conduct a complete peer review and analysis.

“Raw aviation safety data, distributed without appropriate analysis and scrutiny to ensure their validity, can easily lead to unintended consequences. Such a release would open the door to incomplete or inaccurate conclusions if the collection method is flawed or if the individuals looking at the data aren’t familiar with aviation or the collection context. No one knows and understands the data better than those who provide them.

“Just as importantly, simply distributing raw data to the general public without expert analysis could undermine the voluntary safety reporting programs that have formed the foundation of the U.S. airline industry’s outstanding safety record. Pilots have voluntarily supplied safety data with the clear understanding that the data will remain confidential and secure and be used only to improve safety. Violating this trust by releasing the raw data would be reckless and risks the effectiveness of time-tested reporting programs that promise to take the next step in airline safety.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 60,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.

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ALPA Contact: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, 703-481-4440