Benefit of FiIing a ASRS (NASA) Report by Bo Kalabus

So, you think you violated an FAR. Or you know you violated an FAR–like busting into Bravo airspace while you were trying to get that sectional map under control. Now, what do you do next?–this is where the ASRS “NASA” report comes into play.

What is a ASRS “NASA” report?

ASRS stands for Aviation Safety Reporting System, which was put into place by the FAA and it uses NASA as a independant third-party to receive the safety reports. Believe it or not, the FAA is more interested in figuring out why a problem happend then in going after the pilot, so the ASRS was born. The ASRS NASA report is basically a anonymous confidential safety report that a pilot, ground crew, air traffic controller, etc., can use to report they violated a FAR–unintentionally.

Why you want to file a ASRS “NASA” report

In the interest of safety and getting to the root of the problem, the FAA won’t suspend or revoke your certificates if they investigate you and decide to take enforcement actions.

Of course there are a few catches:

1) You must have filed your ASRS “NASA” report within 10 days of the event. You must also keep the reciept of your filing the report as that will be the only proof you filed it.

2) The violation must not have been intentional.

3) You must not have been found guilty of violating an FAR in the last 5 years.

4) If there is illegal activity involved–think drugs and terrorism–the information will be forwarded to the authorities.

Back to our Class B airspace bust example, the next day you file a NASA report within the 10 deadline and to keep this simple, you have not been found guilty of an FAR violation within the last 5 years. Next you’ll receive a reciept back in a few days or weeks that says you filed the report (it won’t go into specifcis since it is anonymous, it will just say you filed the report). A couple months later, you receive the registered letter from the feds that indicates the FAA is investigating your Bravo bust and asks if you have anything to add–usually at this point it’s a good time to contact an aviation lawyer to discuss how to respond to the FAA because there may be some strategy as to what point you want to let the FAA know you filed a NASA report. In the end, if you are found guilty of the violation the FAA will waive the enforcement action of suspending or revoking your certificates–this is assuming they do not think it is intentional or for drugs or terroism. The violation will still go on your record, but you will still have your certificates and will most likley still be flying.

Use it or Lose it

As a wise old airline pilot once told me when I asked about when to file a NASA report, “Hell, I file a ASRS/”NASA” report after every flight!” The moral to the story, If ever in doubt, file your NASA report. There is no limiti on the amount of NASA reports you can file. Of course, if you are found guilty of violating a FAR you’ll need to take a 5 year break from filing one, but until that time….

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