Says "NASA Won't Do The Work"
One lawmaker believes
the results of interviews with pilots regarding air safety should
finally get the analysis they deserve... and called on the
Government Accountability Office to sift through over 24,000
interviews with pilots, conducted over four years under NASA
"When the public pays for five years of government work designed
to help us improve flying safety, I think the public deserves to
get a report back on what was learned," Congressman Bart Gordon
(D-TN) of the House Science and Technology Committee told The
Associated Press. "NASA won't do the work, so I am asking the GAO
to bring back some answers to the committee that we can then share
with the country."
As ANN reported, charges flew
in October NASA withheld the results from the National Aviation
Operations Monitoring System project, for fear it might upset the
flying public and negatively impact the airlines.
Not so, replied NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. The
confidential NAOMS data, he asserted, was developed for long-term
capability, but was under the guidance of an outside study
contractor. Thus, NASA was not involved with the actual data
gathering, or with redacting the data to appropriately protect
those who volunteered information on air safety standards.
The release of partial data in the waning moments of 2007
came after media requests under the Freedom of Information Act by
the AP, and congressional inquiries regarding the study
Since the NAOMS data had been gathered independent of the
Aviation Safety Reporting System -- which protects the pilots
who volunteer reports on incidents and infractions under an
enforcement statute by the FAA -- NASA chose to not release the raw
data. Concerns were that specific events, fight hours, or even
locations mentioned could lead back to those who reported.
The FAA also questioned
the NAOMS findings, noting "the project's results showing more
safety incidents than the FAA's own data, saying it reflected
pilots' subjective opinions."
The GAO will compare NAOMS information against
the data gathered by the FAA.
At the time of this writing, NASA had received the final reports
from the study contractor, and had posted them on NASA's website.
Griffin considered the entire project closed by the end of