ATSAP - whats your take?


Future Former Controller
Jun 14, 2008
Houston, Texas
ATSAP - Air Traffic Safety Action Program

As part of our overall safety goals, ATSAP has established a system for our Controllers and Other Employees to voluntarily identify and report safety and operational concerns. The collected information is reviewed and analyzed to facilitate early detection and improved awareness of operational deficiencies and adverse trends.

The program is non-punitive, and serves as one leg of a good Safety Management System program. ATSAP also helps develop a strong safety culture. The intent is to identify and report all events that may or did lead to a breakdown in safety, or increase risk to our operation. ATSAP reporting must be, and per the MOU, is non-punitive. An employee cannot be decertified nor can any credentialing action take place if an employee reports an event to the ATSAP program.

What is everyone's take on this? Do you think it's a good thing or bad? Do you think they mean it when they say non-punitive or not?


I am rubber, you're glue.
Oct 8, 2008
Plano, TX
This was all over the news in Dallas this past fall. Sounds like DFW got in trouble because they didn't want to admit error... and then immediately implemented this there.

I think it's good to hopefully assist in the development of future technology to assist controllers in common errors. Based on the issues with DFW, I think it's good to be able to get the errors recorded so root cause can occur without controllers getting reprimanded.

I would like to know however if these count for errors for the annual performance increases.


I gotta take the class on Monday...I'll let you know what I think about me...I think controllers in general have too much pride to report themselves when they did something wrong. I think they would rather have it swept under the rug and hope it doesn't get brought up. I'm not sure, since I haven't taken the class, but I think your QA department would have to get involved at some point...especially if the FAA is requesting the tape to review...even though you will not be reprimanded...this would cause the QA team to start and scrutinize another controller, especially if that controller kept reporting on himself...I don't know...I'll give another analysis after I take the course.


Guest is called the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) You will hear most people refer to it as a NASA report...I assume the reasoning behind this is that the FAA has elected NASA, a non-bias agency, to collect the reports and file them.


sweet...take the 7 to 11 am class...that is the one I am going to.


Resident Knucklehead
Jun 15, 2008
Vegas baby
so the FCT i'm at just had the ATSAP packet show up in our R&I. i started reading the pamphlet, but then quit after page 4 of 20. on paper it seems like a pretty good idea. i just think there will eventually be some misuses of the system. controller A will have a vendetta with controller B and turn them in anonymously to ATSAP to try to get them in trouble, when no real OE/OD has even occured. or people that have an error will continue to try to hide it until they get caught, then file an ATSAP. very few people will voluntarily use the system.

i'm all for the program and if it runs the way it supposed to run will be an invaluable tool. i just worry it will be abused.

i can't imagine u guys (LG and Towerboss) having to sit through a 4 hour briefing to go over that packet. get some coffee. it'll be bore-fest 2009


Jan 24, 2009
Dayton Ohio

I'm a little late to the dance, but I'm just curious how the ATSAP training/program is fairing in the FAA? The DoD hasn't gotten on-board with ATSAP yet, but I'm sure they will at some point. Eurocontrol was on the leading edge with their own program 'Just Cultutre'. According to my Euro controller buddies, it's been very successful. Although, they do operate in more of a judicially reactive environment were the local prosecutor can have immediate access to the 'tapes' if he believes negligence was involved. Hopefully, that wont be the case with ATSAP, although, I'm not sure I'd want the limelight (grin).


Nov 21, 2008
So any news or updates about what they talked about in the class?

EDIT: I just noticed Lawngnome's thread about ATSAP in Useful ATC info, but I'm also curious to hear about Q&A brought up in the class about the program, if any. Thanks!


The only way I see myself reporting something is if QA comes to me and tells me I had a deal....then I will call that number and go online and file a report. I probably won't voluntarily admit a deal unless they can prove I knew about it and didn't say anything...but it is hard for them to prove you actually knew you had a deal.


Epic Member
Oct 26, 2008
The only way I see myself reporting something is if QA comes to me and tells me I had a deal....then I will call that number and go online and file a report. I probably won't voluntarily admit a deal unless they can prove I knew about it and didn't say anything...but it is hard for them to prove you actually knew you had a deal.
I for the most part agree... This could however provide a good opportunity if you do know you had a deal, to go on the record and perhaps brush up on something that may have become routine to you. I have been a pilot for years and never had to file a NASA report but have always been told in the case of any incident, this is the best way to save your ticket. As far as I know, this prevents most action against your certificate but it is not a free ride out. The insurance companies still know there was an accident/incident, your flight club still knows, and so does the FAA. Your insurance company and flight club would likely still require a skills check or something of the sort. If this holds true within the ATC world, I would find the ATSAP a valuable tool, not only to save your ass but also to advance training where needed. We all need to remember, having a deal doesnt just suck for us, but can be a catastrophe for a couple aircraft and the hundreds of people aboard them. I feel that any opportunity for advancement in training is greatly beneficial, whether we, as controllers or pilots, feel we need it.

My $.02


Junior Member
Aug 30, 2008
An old thread rises from the dead.

I recently sat in on a briefing about ATSAP and was very interested. From what I understood, if you have a deal and it is "unknown" to your supervisor or anyone but yourself, and you report it, the ATSAP reps in the local area are careful not to ask stupid questions that might indicate your involvement. i.e. They're not going to say, "Let me have the tapes for sector 3 from 3:00-4:00." Any dummy could just look and see who was working the sector during that time and figure who had the issue. What the ATSAP reps will do, hopefully of course, is ask for the tapes for two or three different sectors (including sector 3 where the deal happened) from Tues-Sat. Muddles the waters a bit.

Anyone else go to one of the meetings and hear some similar things?


Senior Member
Feb 17, 2009
They don't necessarily always check the tapes or radar data . . . I am aware of an instance at a facility where the controller filled out an ATSAP and heard back within a day or two that the issue was closed.

I am all for ATSAP, but I would recommend filling out a NASA form as well as do an ATSAP. ATSAP doesn't protect your CTO or Radar Cert (but a NASA form does), and technically AOV could take those certs away if they found out about the deal through another source (random audit, etc...) even if you couldn't be punished through your management in the ATO.


Jun 20, 2009
Atlanta, GA
I would still file both as well, eventually the ATSAP website will actually file a NASA report for you, but its not doing this yet. However, just to clarify according to the MOU, For a report accepted under this ATSAP MOU, the Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service (AOV) will use lesser action or no action, AOV is a party to the MOU, if its an accepted report, there will be nothing done with your qualifications, unless the ERC were to make that determination.