FOQA and ACARS in Aviation Safety Programs
Flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) is defined as a safety program designed to use proactive flight data to integrate and improve safety in the aviation sector. The safety program often assists flight operators in identifying and correcting any parameters that may be encountered. As such, the flight operators often find it easy to correct and fix any flight parameters identified.
Over the years, FOQA data has been instrumental in eliminating and reducing the aviation safety risks that cannot be easily identified. Flight operators can easily minimize and correct any deficiencies or deviations before they occur (Xueyan, Mingliang, & Mingang, 2012). Moreover, the program allows both the airlines and pilots to exchange and share non-identified aggregate data with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Primarily, the FAA can use the FOQA data to analyze the trends in flight-risk and accidents. FAA can address and develop strategies aimed at the reduction and elimination of the aviation safety risks in the National Airspace System (NAS), Air Traffic Control (ATC), airport, and flight operations (Federal Aviation Administration, 2016). FOQA data is routinely collected in the form of digital flight data, and analysis is done concurrently. The FOQA data often addresses any gaps found that could probably cause accidents and flight problems. FOQA can also be used to recommend policies and forecast accidents. Furthermore, FOQA helps in the analysis of diagnostic data, fuel inefficiencies, as well as competitive environment conditions.
Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) is defined as a system that links the direct exchange and transmission of texts or messages amongst the flight operators. The system conveys messages that are from Airline Administration Control (AAC), Aeronautical Operational Control (AOC), and ATC. The messages often displayed in the system from these three primary sources include weather information, aircraft position and diversion, technical performance, as well as fuel quantity and faults. The system is also capable of free text messaging (Federal Aviation Administration, 2016). ACARS is of significance in the aviation sector as it involves normal protocol of voice communication in its work. As such, redundancy is provided in the communications amongst flight operators. Moreover, ACARS can monitor an aircraft’s parameters and allow the exchange of the information between the aircraft operators and the ground station operators before the aircraft takes off or lands. As a result, airlines can easily monitor the health and effectiveness of the aircraft.
FOQA and ACARS are applied to the proactive and predictive safety management system (SMS). FOQA is a digital form of flight data that monitors, collects, and records data. The data can be used in the analysis of subsequent aviation trends and to develop and implement the safety strategies to eliminate and reduce future safety risks. Thus, FOQA can be described as a proactive and predictive system. It allows various organizations to address the multiple safety risks and accord sufficient and effective resources to operational flight areas with limited resources. ACARS is the digital data link in the sharing of messages between the aircraft and various aviation organizations. It can be applied to a proactive and predictive safety management system in that it allows for easy transmission of critical parameters encountered in the plane to the ground stations (Hollinger, 2006). As a result, flight operators can easily monitor the health of the aircraft. Mainly, it helps to correct and maintain any critical parameter before it manifests into huge parameters that can cause flight failures, as well as accidents.
Federal Aviation Administration. (2016, June 21). Advisory Circular: Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_107-2.pdf
Hollinger, K. V. (2006, December 29). The SMS Table. Center for Advanced Aviation System Development. Retrieved from https://www.mitrecaasd.org/SMS/doc/The_SMS_Table.pdf
Xueyan, S., Mingliang, Q., & Mingang, G. (2012). Safety risk analysis in flight operations quality assurance. Systems Engineering Procedia, 5, 81-86. Retrieved from https://ac.els-cdn.com/S2211381912000562/1-s2.0-S2211381912000562-main.pdf?_tid=b72d6b74-d0e0-4b32-9240-205a5215c3e1&acdnat=1538637790_134a6a081b6369feda26f1a8173376b3