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News > Safety program gives Airmen avenue to identify potential issues
Safety program gives Airmen avenue to identify potential issues

Posted 7/2/2013   Updated 7/3/2013 Email story   Print story


by Joseph Murray
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

7/2/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- In April of 2006, a B-52 crew was bringing their aircraft in after a long training mission -- adverse weather conditions surrounding their home station made for a trying and difficult approach.

The bomber finally broke through the clouds, and finding the runway clear; the crew expected an easy recovery after their long mission. Seconds before touch-down however, the tower ordered an immediate go-around.

The aircraft heaved up into the air, straining against its control cables, and plunged directly back into the weather bank. Inside the storm clouds, static discharge damaged the wing and endangered the men on board. Following procedure, and relying on their training, the crew was able to bring the stricken craft safely to ground with no further incident.

On inquiry it was discovered that the plane was required to take another pass due to lightning strikes five miles off the end of the departure runway. In accordance with published procedure, all landings had been suspended, including the one that was about to be successfully executed.

"A safe landing was aborted and a crew was endangered because of dogged adherence to a flawed procedure," said Maj. Gregory Watson, AFGSC Flight Safety Integration Chief, "Input from the Airmen on the ground and in the air helps rewrite our procedures keeping our people safe and our planes in the air."

Air Force Global Strike Command Safety introduced the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) to provide a means to reduce safety incidents by giving Airman the ability to report hazardous situations, questionable events and high-risk activities.

"Safety is more prominent when we have actual mishaps, when we have bent metal, lost a person or destroyed an intricate process because of an accident," said Col. Rey R. ErmitaƱo, AFGSC Director of Safety, "ASAP is important because it allows the safety community to proactively track and seek those small incidents which could grow into larger safety issues."

"The ASAP program allows you the Airman to have a voice, a direct impact on those things in the command especially those that concern the safety arena," said Watson.

The program was adopted in the early 1990s by civilian airlines. Major carriers now receive and investigate an average of 100 reports per week.

Since Air Mobility command introduced the program in July of 2009, it has received more than 360 reports which have contributed to overall safety in the command. AFGSC is only the second MAJCOM to implement the program.

"The proactive nature of ASAP makes it a very cost-effective way of dealing with incidents. Our desire is that we catch them early enough that they do not create a larger mishap," ErmitaƱo said. "If this program enables us to take measures ahead of time to save lives, then it is something we really need to participate in."

"Use it," Watson said. "The more ASAP gets used, the more data we get, the more hazards we identify and the more mishaps we prevent."

For more information, or to report a potential safety hazard please visit the ASAP reporting site

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