Did you know that filing a NASA report under the Aviation Safety Reporting Program provides a waiver of sanction for pilots facing FAA enforcement action due to a violation of a federal aviation regulation (FAR)?
Created to encourage a “free, unrestricted flow of information” from the users of the National Airspace System, NASA collects information reported via the Aviation Safety Reporting Program and periodically provides reports to the FAA to remedy safety defects or deficiencies in the National Airspace System. Of course, the FAA understands that pilots may be reluctant to provide this information if they think they might be subjected to an enforcement action for violating a FAR. Consequently, the FAA will waive sanction for an Aviation Safety Reporting Program reporter, as outlined in Advisory Circular 00-46E and 14 C.F.R §91.25.
Under the Aviation Safety Reporting Program, a reporter files a report with NASA, which acts as a neutral third party to collect, de-identify, and analyze the data submitted. In turn, NASA keeps the identity of the reporter anonymous and the FAA will waive the sanction in a subsequent enforcement action. Although the FAA may find that the reporter violated a FAR, the Aviation Safety Reporting Program will ensure that the FAA does not impose a certificate suspension or civil penalty.
There are limitations to this program, however. To reap the benefits of filing a NASA report, you must show that:
A reporter should not file a NASA report if the FAR violation involves criminal activity or an accident, since NASA will not protect the reporter’s identity under these circumstances and will forward the report (identity and all) to the appropriate authorities.
Hopefully, you will not violate an FAR. But if you do, consider whether filing a NASA report might be beneficial. If you have questions, call the AOPA Legal Services Plan staff.