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FAA ‘Safety Culture’ or Snitching Program?

In the old days — and I mean prior to last November — we flight instructors could observe a student make a minor mistake in the airplane, and then watch to see how he or she resolved it. That's not the way it is after February 2012. The FAA has installed a web-based “occurrence tracking system” in ATC facilities and now provides new guidance on what needs to be typed into that system. In short, controllers are being directed to snitch on pilots when we make a mistake. This is bad news for… ( Mehr...

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Marcus Pradel 8
I hate to swing this back, but where do pilots snitch on controllers and put their employment under the same risk?

When was the last time a Pilot's mistake got a Controller killed?
demshelley 2
I had quit flying much after I adopted my three children and am just getting back into utilizing my aircraft for personal travel. Up until Saturday, I had mostly been building some recent simulated IFR time and taken my children on VFR pleasure flights near my home base. What's changed over the last two years? Well, the IPAD is a great addition, but the new FAA Snitch Program is a real concern to me.

I took my first real IFR cross country in a long time last Saturday. It was a clear day and the flight was about an hour and a half each way. I was recently made aware of the program by my friend and former instructor. So, I was overly cautious. I could tell by the radio traffic that this issue was foremost in everyone's mind. I even heard another pilot double verifying an altitude assignment because he did not want to be "snitched out." The controller laughed back...a nervous laugh.

During my flight, I made a couple of minor errors that I wouldn't have thought twice about a couple of years ago. But, now, will I get a call from FSDO???? I generated a NASA report anyway on every possible error and also took a moment to add a couple of comments detailing:

1. I believed this snitch system was going to contribute to a decrease in safety. I was so worried about missing an ATC communication or instruction that it took away from my ability to monitor my flight systems. I sat there the entire flight closely monitoring the radio, pen in hand, copying every instruction with the time given and freq. This is nuts. ATC is supposed to be there to help you complete a safe flight. I felt anything but safe during the flight. I wished I would have gone VFR.

2. I also expressed that because of the new snitch system, I would be flying VFR whenever possible and not getting flight following (More of a bluff - I will still get flight following). But, under this system, it would be logical to conclude that unmonitored VFR is the "safer" way to go to protect your license even though purposely staying outside the ATC system decreases safety overall.

Anyway, I intend to file some sort of NASA report after every cross country or IFR flight just to cover my arse. I will continue to add my concerns about the snitch system in each case.

I would encourage all who read this to do the same.

By the way, where IS the snitch site to report ATC errors/mistakes???

Oh, I forgot, the sovereign can do no wrong.

To get it straight it's not controllers snitching on pilots, it is an automated system snitching on pilots where non-controllers are doing "random audits" of facilities and if they happen to catch a violation, then you may get a call.
Gene spanos 1
Respectfully, when pilots make mistakes - those on the ground don't have the luxury
to flee in time before and event. Case in point is the two High schools that lay in the path to 4R and 4L here at O'Hare. There is not special evacuation plan - in place.
stol701 1
Since when does anyone follow rules?

Usually the snitch controllers are the ones who do the worst job themselves.

A verbal education is a valuable thing when corrected on the spot by ATC, and if safety was not directly affected (reasonable interpretation) it should be a free lesson for all. And I've heard pilots politely correct controllers.

However, sometimes these are the beginnings of systemic problems that should be formally addressed.

Both sides are required to question and verify any ambiguous actions or clearances. Rules are not going to stop humans from making human errors.
Rob Kreb 1
Yet another overly ambitious, over achieving attempt to regulate aviation losses into non-existence.

You know what? The FAA is soooooo successful at this, I think I will call my underwriter, cancel ALL my Coverages, because undoubtedly, this program will be the icing on the cake that I will never suffer a loss! Boy will my mortgage holders be glad to hear that!!!


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