Pilots, mechanics, air-traffic controllers, or anyone else facing a FAA imposed civil penalty or certificate suspension due to a violation of a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) may want to consider filing a NASA form under the Aviation Safety Reporting Program (ASRP). However, before filing a report with NASA, you should know the benefits and consequences.

In 1975, the FAA released Advisory Circular 00-46 which created the ASRP. In an effort to promote safe flight operations, the FAA combined forces with NASA, a neutral third party, to collect reports from airmen, mechanics, air-traffic controllers, and others, regarding safety concerns in the air traffic control system. In other words, NASA screens the submitted reports to ensure that the reports remain anonymous while collecting, processing, and analyzing the data for the FAA.

Since the FAA realized that most people don’t want to incriminate themselves, a person who submits a NASA form can sometimes claim immunity when facing a FAA imposed civil penalty or certificate suspension – just for timely filing a NASA report. However, NASA will not protect the identity of someone who reports a crime or accident.

In addition to the FAA’s prohibition on reporting accidents and crimes, there are other requirements that the reporter must meet in order to enjoy the protection of the ASRP. For example, a violation of the FARs must be inadvertent and not deliberate, there must be no previous FAA enforcement actions against the reporter within 5 years of the date of occurrence, and the reporter must file the report with NASA within 10 days after the violation.

As you might imagine, several, complex legal issues arise under the ASRP during an FAA Enforcement Action. An aviation attorney should be consulted before you file a report with NASA as you may inadvertently incriminate yourself through the report.

If you have questions about filing a report with NASA, call the Ison Law Firm.

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