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NASA Reports

One of the topics we often get questions about is NASA reports. Any situation that could affect safety in the National Airspace System (NAS), other than criminal activities and accidents, may be confidentially reported to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through the Aviation and Safety Reporting System (ASRS) program.

While we’ve written articles on this topic that you can find out on the PPS site, like NASA ASRS Reports: Practical Considerations, we also wanted to put together a comprehensive list of those often-asked questions to help guide you, should you need to fill one out.

Use the accordion below to review all the details you’ll need to know about NASA reports.

Should I still file a NASA report even though the FAA has already contacted me about the event?

Yes. If filing a report is otherwise appropriate, the timing of the FAA contact should not influence the decision to file.

Is there any limit on the number of NASA reports I can file?

No, there are no limits to the number of NASA reports you can file but do not report accidents or criminal offenses. There is a limit on how often one can take advantage of the waiver of sanction offered by a timely NASA report.

Can I file a NASA report online?

Yes, you may file a report online here: https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/.

How long after the event do I have to file a NASA report?

To be considered timely waiver of sanction purposes, filing (electronically or by mail) must be done within 10 days after the violation, or date when you became aware or should have been aware of the violation.

Does the FAA get notified that I filed a NASA report?

No. AC 00-46E “The FAA will not seek, and NASA will not release or make available to the FAA, any report filed with NASA under the ASRS or any other information that might reveal the identity of any party involved in an occurrence or incident reported under the ASRS. There has been no breach of confidentiality in more than 34 years of the ASRS under NASA management.”

However, because your report may identify issues in the aviation system which need to be addressed, any time-critical information will be promptly referred to the FAA and other interested parties, but only after de-identification.

Am I required to keep a copy of the NASA report?

No, but if you keep a copy, NASA-ASRS recommends that you keep it in a secure location. “The NASA-ASRS team suggests that you do not save your completed report to a shared (e.g., company) computer.”

After I filed a NASA report online, I received a tracking number; do I still need to keep the identification strip that I receive in the mail?

Yes, keep the identification strip which NASA will send to by mail.It will be stamped by NASA and is proof that you have submitted a report to the Aviation Safety Reporting System.

Does filing a NASA report mean that the FAA cannot take legal enforcement action me?

The FAA may still perform an investigation and take legal enforcement action against you, but the FAA may not impose a sanction (such as a suspension of your pilot certificate) if certain conditions are met.

The FAA considers the filing of a report with NASA concerning an incident or occurrence involving a violation of 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII or the 14 CFR to be indicative of a constructive attitude. Such an attitude will tend to prevent future violations. Accordingly, although a finding of violation may be made, neither a civil penalty nor certificate suspension will be imposed if:

  • The violation was inadvertent and not deliberate;
  • The violation did not involve a criminal offense, accident, or action under 49 U.S.C. § 44709, which discloses a lack of qualification or competency, which is wholly excluded from this policy;
  • The person has not been found in any prior FAA enforcement action to have committed a violation of 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII, or any regulation promulgated there for a period of 5 years prior to the date of occurrence; and
  • The person proves that, within 10 days after the violation, or date when the person became aware or should have been aware of the violation, he or she completed and delivered or mailed a written report of the incident or occurrence to NASA.

I wasn’t the Pilot In Command. Should I still file a NASA report?

Yes. To avail yourself of the waiver of sanction provisions and to contribute to identify system deficiencies, each pilot should file their own report.In some cases, more than one pilot can be held responsible for violations even in a single-pilot aircraft. The ASRS collects voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident/situation reports from pilots, controllers, and others and acts on the information these reports contain. It identifies system deficiencies, and issues alerting messages to persons in a position to correct them. It educates through its newsletter CALLBACK, its journal ASRS Directline and through its research studies. Its database is a public repository which serves the FAA and NASA's needs and those of other organizations world-wide which are engaged in research and the promotion of safe flight.

The flight had two required crewmembers; should we each file a NASA report?

Yes. To avail themselves of the waiver of sanction provisions, each crewmember should file their own report. Only the reporter will receive the identity strip as proof of submission. NASA will de-identify each report, including deleting the names of individuals in the report.

ATC gave me a phone number to call, but after speaking with them they said not to worry about anything. Should I still file a NASA report?

Yes. There are many occurrences that the FAA mandates air traffic control to report for further investigation, regardless of whether there is any suspected wrongdoing by the pilot.

ATC cleared me for takeoff, but as soon as I crossed the hold short lines, I had to return to return to parking due to a suspected flat tire. Should I file a NASA report?

Yes, so long as you are not reporting accidents or criminal offenses. FAA defines an occurrence as an event, other than an accident or incident, that requires investigation by the Flight Standards Service for its potential impact on safety. ATC must report an occurrence such as an aborted takeoff for further investigation. It does not necessarily mean that you did anything wrong, but a subsequent FAA investigation may uncover unrelated issues such as expired medicals, lapsed currency, or overdue annual inspections. Filing a NASA report for the flight at issue may help should one of these issues be discovered later.

Does the FAA know whether I filed a NASA report?

No.NASA-ASRS holds your submitted reports in strict confidence. NASA will mail you your identity strip which is proof that you have submitted a report to the ASRS.

I thought the NASA report is confidential, why does NASA ask for my name and address?

NASA-ASRS: “The information you provide on the identity strip will be used only if NASA determines that it is necessary to contact you for further information. NASA will mail the identity strip directly to you. THIS IDENTITY STRIP WILL BE RETURNED DIRECTLY TO YOU. The return of the identity strip assures your anonymity.”

I fly out of an airport with very dim ramp lighting, should I file a NASA report?

Yes, if you think the lighting could affect safety and are inclined to do so. NASA-ASRS was designed to encourage the identification and reporting of deficiencies and discrepancies in the system. It identifies system deficiencies, and issues alerting messages to persons in a position to correct them. It educates through its newsletter CALLBACK, its journal ASRS Directline and through its research studies. Its database is a public repository which serves the FAA and NASA's needs and those of other organizations world-wide which are engaged in research and the promotion of safe flight. Any time-critical information will be promptly referred to the FAA and other interested parties, but only after de-identification.