CALLBACK  Masthead

Number 325
January 2007
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

New Services for ASRS Program Users

You’ve had a brief introduction to two new ASRS services in recent issues of CALLBACK – Electronic Report Submission (ERS) and the ASRS Database Online. Now we’d like to give you more information about both, and explain how you can begin accessing these new services through the ASRS web site at:

Electronic Report Submission (ERS) Screenshot of Electronic Report

Electronic Report Submission (ERS) is the ability to fill out an ASRS reporting form on a computer and send it to ASRS using a secure Internet connection. ERS is a long-awaited technological development that will provide ASRS program users with a quick, convenient, and secure way to submit incident reports to the program.

Here’s how ERS works: A user goes to the ASRS web site ( and clicks on “Electronic Report Submission.” This link leads to a page with additional links to the four types of ASRS reporting forms (General Pilot, Air Traffic Control, Maintenance, and Cabin). A user chooses their particular reporting form to fill out and “Send Electronically,” or fill out a form and “Download and Print” it for mailing.

ASRS has fully explored privacy protection and confidentiality concerns for secure ERS. Working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL), ASRS has applied sophisticated new technology to ERS that will ensure that users’ identities remain protected. Of the 715,000+ reports received to date, no reporter’s confidentiality has ever been compromised.

ASRS encourages program users to take advantage of the new ERS capability. Currently, ASRS receives more than 40,000 reports annually from pilots, air traffic controllers, cabin crew, mechanics, and others involved in aviation operations. In the two months since ERS became operational, ASRS has received more than 1,331  electronically submitted aviation safety incident reports.

The ASRS Database Online

Another new service for ASRS program users is the ASRS Database Online. Now for the first time, users of ASRS data can perform their own database searches, download incident reports, and have immediate access to a valuable source of aviation safety information. The Database Online is accessible at the ASRS web site:

The ASRS Database is the world’s largest repository of voluntary, confidential safety information – provided by aviation’s frontline personnel, including pilots, controllers, mechanics, flight attendants, dispatchers, and others. The database includes the narratives submitted by reporters (after they have been sanitized for identifying details). These narratives offer an exceptionally rich source of information for policy development, human factors research, education, training, and more.

Users may access the Database Online by going to the ASRS web site and clicking on “Database Information,” then “Go Directly to the ASRS Database Online,” which opens the Search page. In addition to allowing users to immediately begin a database search, the Search page contains background information for new users, search strategies, sample searches, database fields, and properties of ASRS data.

The “engine” for the ASRS Database Online is a browser-based, cross-platform “Web Query” enhancement developed by ASRS. Users may retrieve reports by searching on Screenshots of ASRS Database Onlinethe specified fields. The ASRS Database Online makes it easier than ever for users to independently explore ASRS data for themes, patterns, and issues of interest.

We would appreciate your feedback about the ASRS Database Online. Planned future enhancements include the ability to download the data in other useful formats.

Incident Report Round-up

The beginning of the New Year presents an opportunity for CALLBACK to share various reports that we didn’t have space for in recent issues. We hope you find our January potpourri a refreshing start to a new year of aviation information.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

HelicopterA helicopter pilot who had told his wife he would be home for dinner decided to fly home to “make everyone happy.” In the pilot’s words, that turned out to be a “poor decision”:

  • I landed a helicopter in the common area of a housing community behind my house. The landing area is very big, the approach was textbook, and no one was in the area on the ground. I have done this in the past (not at this location but similar) with absolutely no problems at all. As it turned out, it caused quite a commotion. An ambulance passing by saw me landing and reported it to the police as a helicopter crash. So, within moments, police cars, fire engines and news reporters gathered all around. The reason I landed there was just to have dinner with my family. The local authorities were not impressed with that reason and charged me with several state laws they thought might apply...FAR 91.13...may [also] apply even though I took reasonable precautions prior to landing...

FAR 91.13 prohibits the “careless and reckless” operation of an aircraft in a manner that “endangers the life or property of another.” This pilot had no idea that landing at home “would cause so much grief.”

Start the Clock

The Captain’s clock in the B757-B767 provides all GMT times to the Flight Management System (FMS). When the setting knob on the lower right of the clock is placed in the ‘Hold’ position, input to the FMS is disconnected. This rotatable switch is immediately above the Captain’s foot rest. Now for the “rest” of the story:

  • While operating in the ‘Waters’ area of the Atlantic, we were making position reports to New York [commercial radio]. After passing ABCDE intersection, we received a Selcal and were told to slow to change our arrival time at BCDEF intersection. After slowing to the lowest possible airspeed, our FMC ‘BCDEF’ estimated time kept decreasing rather than increasing. After changing our estimate and conferring with New York [commercial radio] several times, we spoke to the controller who was actually handling our flight. He suggested that we check our clocks. I found my clock (Captain’s) in the ‘Time Hold’ position. I reset my clock and all FMC functions returned to normal. We checked our clocks before takeoff, and they seemed to be working normally for the first part of our flight. I finally figured out because of the location of the clock, that I had kicked the Run/Hold switch to Hold, while using the instrument panel lower foot rest, which is located directly in front of the clock.

“One to Go”
Hand signing one

  • We were descending to reach [fix] at 11,000 feet and 250 knots. I was distracted making a PA for landing when the First Officer gave me a #1 finger sign in which I thought he meant flaps one, not “one [thousand feet] to go.” I didn’t realize we were over our Flaps 1 speed when I brought the flap handle out of the ‘up’ detent, but brought [it] back to ‘up’ when I immediately recognized the speed. The handle never reached the Flap 1 position and we both did not see any flap needle movement or any red overspeed warning on the ADI [Attitude Director Indicator]. As a precaution the First Officer disconnected the autopilot when he saw me raising the flap handle. We both felt there was no need to write a [logbook entry], since we believe there was no stress on the aircraft and the flaps did not deploy. I am submitting this safety report to share with others that proper communications as well as both pilots constantly being “in the loop,” even with distractions, is paramount.

Canine Conniptions

A PA-28 pilot took off with two dogs as passengers. The pilot, who had not filed a flight plan, was talking to Approach, when...

  • My two large dogs went crazy. [They] jumped on me and with no one in the co-pilot seat, one of my dogs pushed the control yoke and caught his front leg on the yoke, causing an uncontrolled turn to the right. This turn put me in the clouds IMC. Once I regained control of the plane and dogs, I realizedDog with headphones hanging from  mouth I had turned toward the Class B airspace...ATC did advise me that I was not cleared to enter and to descend below 5,000 feet AGL. Shortly after ATC asked me if I was in VFR conditions and could I see the ground. I was then in VFR and could see the ground.

    The moral of this flight is that I should have secured my dogs with seat belts. This is the main error I committed. [My second error was] flying VFR into IMC without an IFR clearance.

ASRS Alerts Issued in November 2006
Subject of Alert
No. of Alerts
Aircraft or aircraft equipment
Airport facility or procedure
ATC operations or equipment
Company policy
Chart, Publication, or Nav Database
November 2006 Report Intake
 Air Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots
 General Aviation Pilots