Flight Operations Quality Assurance

Flight Operations Quality Assurance

Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA, pronounced PHO-kua), also known as Flight Data Management (FDM) or Flight Data Analysis, is a method of capturing and analyzing the data generated by an aircraft moving through the air from one point to another. Applying the information learned from this analysis helps to find new ways to improve flight safety and increase overall operational efficiency. Several airlines and air forces have initiated FOQA programs to collect, store and analyze recorded flight data. The goal is to improve the organization or unit's overall safety, increase maintenance effectiveness and reduce operational costs.

Applications of FOQA

Many European airlines are required under regional legislation to utilize FDM programs (Europe prefers the term FDM). However, in the United States, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) does not yet require FOQA programs for commercial operators. The data recorded can be either pilot generated or mechanically induced. A significant barrier to wider adoption in the United States is pilot's universal lack of trust in who will see and act on the flight data once it is recorded and studied.fact|date=October 2008

The FAA defined FOQA in its Advisory Circular #120-82, dated April 12, 2004. The agency's "Air Transportation Operations Inspector's Handbook" (FAA Order 8400.10, August 9, 2006) details what a valid FOQA system contains. An excerpt from Volume 1, Chapter 5, Section 2, page 1-221 of this FAA document states: "Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) is a voluntary safety program designed to improve aviation safety through the proactive use of flight-recorded data." [cite web |url=http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/40C02FC39C1577B686256E8A005AFB0A?OpenDocument&Highlight=ac120-82 |title=FAA Advisory Circular 120-82 |publisher=Federal Aviation Authority |accessdate=2008-10-02]

In India, Directorate General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has made it mandatory for all airline operators to carry out Flight Data Analysis for flight safety. Instruction clearly states the need for a flight safety department for all scheduled operators. Non-scheduled operators are required to present a safety report on a half-yearly basis to DGCA.


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