NASAs Aviation Safety Reporting System(ASRS)-What is it and Why Participate?

NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)

Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRA) is a Safety Reporting System of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contracted to Booz Allen Hamilton.

Its purpose is to allow for voluntary submission of any safety related event that can be connected to possible FAA infractions, incidents and or violations that an operator, affiliate and or observer who participates in the aviation system has identified in their personal perspective. It is designed to protect identifying information of the reporter, without further investigation, other than the possibly of a contact to the reporter.

ASRS Data does hold with it statistical reporting biases, since the accuracy of total incidents occurring and reported cannot be accurate when considering factor such as aviation participants not being equally aware or willing to participate in the program. Therefore, the data can represent the lower measure, rather than the higher, of the true number of events that are occurring. ASRS Data true reporting value is in the qualitative information contained in the individual information reported narrative(s).

Near Midair Collisions (NMACs) represent the bulk of these identifying reports, so it is not the subject of this blog. Instead we will look at unique report that will represent a conscious learning lesson not ordinarily considered.

When considering all the possible safety issues you may experience, one in particular has a manageable risk assessment known as a “Radius of Action”. When determining this type of safety risk and preparation for the live event, one of the main considerations which will significantly lower safety risk would be the power needed to maintain the payload, deployment & return distance, weather & environmental conditions, obstacle avoidance and any minimum energy reserves needed for a successful UAS deployment and return to home base project.

In the real-life example below, the operator did not anticipate that the UAS would lose power while conducting the flight, when there was plenty of power available. This is an example of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Report, on an unexpected true event that cannot be normally anticipated and must be added to the list of considerations when preparing for a safe flight:


UAV operator reported that the UAV suffered a complete loss of power during flight despite indications of sufficient battery time remaining.

Time / Day

Date : 201811 Local Time Of Day : 1201-1800


Altitude.AGL.Single Value : 100


Flight Conditions : VMC Weather Elements / Visibility.Visibility : 10 Light : Daylight Ceiling.Single Value : 3900


Reference : X Aircraft Operator.Other Make Model Name : UAV - Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle Flight Plan : VFR Flight Phase.Other


Aircraft Component : Electrical/Electronic Panel & Parts Aircraft Reference : X Problem : Failed


Reference : 1 Location Of Person : Company Reporter Organization : Corporate Function.Flight Crew : Other / Unknown Qualification.Flight Crew : Private Experience.Flight Crew.Total : 15 Experience.Flight Crew.Last 90 Days : 8 Experience.Flight Crew.Type : 15 ASRS Report Number.Accession Number : 1591117


Anomaly.Aircraft Equipment Problem : Critical Detector.Person : Other Person When Detected : In-flight Result.Aircraft : Aircraft Damaged


Contributing Factors / Situations : Aircraft Primary Problem : Aircraft

Narrative: 1

While performing an inspection of a building, a brand new DJI M-210 aircraft suffered a complete loss of power during flight, despite indications that there was sufficient battery time still remaining. The resulting aircraft fell directly to the ground due to the immediate loss of lift with the remote pilot unable to control its subsequent flight path. The small unmanned aircraft was damaged upon impact, with insignificant damage done to the property. The aircraft firmware was updated prior to the flight and new batteries were being used at the time of the incident.

In this example, the reporter/operator was diligent in assuring that the aircraft firmware was updated and that new batteries were being used prior to the flight. Yet the aircraft failed midflight by suffering a complete and immediate loss of power, leaving the Pilot in Command (PIC) with no way to control its subsequent flight path. This type of significant incident provides us a perspective of an unconsidered factor related to safety and hardware that must be addressed in maintaining a safe aviation airspace and protecting both participating and unsuspecting parties from injury. The reporter felt this to be an important event to report and was required to do so, if the total cost of damage sustained was $500.00 or more to any property other than the UAS and or if there was any serious injury to any person or any loss of consciousness. The reporter did not indicate either of these in the report. So it can be presumed that safety, future awareness and preparation, were the most important purpose of the reporter's submission.

This is what ASRS is all about! In this situation 14 CFR 107.9 and AC 107-2 were complied with if in fact the incident fell within those FAA regulations.


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© 2019 by Mike DiCosola  and UAS World News.