New software advances en route safety analysis

The US Air Traffic Organization (ATO) continues to strengthen proactive safety management with the activation of the Traffic Analysis Review Programme (TARP) in all En Route centres, according to ATO News.

“Automatic reporting frees up our controllers and supervisors to concentrate on the operation while enabling a system-wide focus on safety trends,” explained ATO safety and technical training deputy vice president Tim Arel. “It’s really a change in thinking that helps us identify risk in the system.”

The TARP software automatically detects losses of aircraft separation and seamlessly reports all losses of separation to the Comprehensive Electronic Data Analysis and Reporting programme. The system that TARP replaces — called the Operational Error Detection Patch — captured losses of separation but did not transfer them directly into CEDAR. TARP has been used at Terminal facilities since 2009.

Kurt Casper, programme manager for safety tools, expects the change to be a time saver for facilities and the service areas.

“As far as the facility is concerned, the changes for the operations manager and the Quality Control office is that manual processing of electronically generated alerts will no longer be necessary,” explained Casper.

Those alerts will now automatically show up in CEDAR as Electronic Occurrence Reports. CEDAR gathers both Mandatory and Electronic Occurrence Reports for analysis by ATO Safety and Technical Training’s Quality Assurance team, helping the FAA study large chunks of data to validate and classify events, and then take aims to prevent them from occurring again.

Individual facilities can also look at their MORs to identify risks and possible trends and compare data with their district, service area and across the country.

TARP provides valuable quantitative data that can be analyzed to detect risks, while voluntary safety reporting programmes like the Air Traffic Safety Action Programme provide qualitative data about causal and contributory factors. The FAA’s goal is to create an atmosphere where controllers and managers are encouraged to identify, report and correct safety issues and emerging risks, and automation programs like TARP will support those efforts.

The ATO’s proactive Safety Management System is focused on identifying the factors that contribute to elevated risk, as well as prioritizing resources and programmes that reduce risk and improve safety performance.

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