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Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs
worldwide. Teams of experts from member organizations are then tasked with developing methods to more fully understand the chain of events leading to incidents and to identify solutions. CAST aided the FAA in the creation of the agency’s ASIAS program. NASA is a member of CAST, and thus managers from the Aviation Safety Program participate in CAST’s Joint Implementation Measurement Data Analysis Team (JIMDAT), which develops a master safety plan, measures effectiveness, and identifies future areas of study, all key inputs to the CAST Safety Plan. The director of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program is also a member of the Executive Board of ASIAS and thus approves ASIAS-directed safety analyses. CAST has recently expanded its focus to include identifying new and emerging safety risks to enable the implementation of proactive measures before new types of accidents occur. NASA is also participating in this initiative, referred to as “FAST”—Future Aviation Safety Team.
NASA’S MEANS OF RESEARCH PRIORITIZATION
Aware of these many external sources of input, the committee asked NASA to describe how it uses this information, and any other sources, to establish aviation-safety research objectives and prioritize them for the purpose of programming and resourcing research. Figure 2.1 depicts the process as described schematically.
The committee was told that a major function of the Aviation Safety Program office is to review its existing research portfolio and any proposed research for consistency with NASA’s mission, the fundamental safety challenges identified in the National Plan, and identifiable safety research needs. To identify safety research needs,
FIGURE 2.1 NASA depiction of its process for analyzing its safety research portfolio in relation to research needs. SOURCE: Amy Pritchett, Director, NASA Aviation Safety Program, “Safety-Related Research in NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate: Overview,” presentation to the committee, September 3, 2009.