Aviation Safety

The Aviation Safety Program ensures mission success and preserves human and material resources by preventing damage and injury through the elimination or mitigation of hazards. The center Aviation Safety Officers (ASOs) serve as the center's focal point for Aviation Safety and also are responsible for managing the center's Aviation Safety Program. These ASOs are assigned in the center’s Flight Operations departments and work with the center’s Safety and Mission Assurance organizations when needed.

As stated in NPR 7900.3, Aircraft Operations Management, “NASA's major involvement in aeronautics dictates a commitment to aviation safety, not only through the Aviation Safety Program but also in all technology programs.”

The chief of SMA has delegated management of the NASA Aviation Safety Program to the Headquarters’ Aircraft Management Division.

People

Aviation Safety Officer Working Group

The Aviation Safety Officer (ASO) Working Group is comprised of ASOs from around the agency, as well as Jamal Abbed and Al Micklewright from the Aircraft Management Division and John Lapointe from the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA Headquarters. Each ASO serves as the center’s main contact for Aviation Safety and is responsible for advising the chief of flight operations and the center director regarding safety issues and concerns.

John Lapointe 

Aviation Safety Program Liaison

Points of Contact

Points of Contact

For details on contacting an Aviation Safety Point of Contact (PoC) for your location, click below.

Find Your PoC

Learning

Launch SATERN SATERN Courses
Course Title Course Number Buttons 
Aircrew Resource Management SMA-SAFE-NSTC-026P Additional Details
Airplane Performance: Theory, Applications And Certification SMA-AS-EXTW-203 Additional Details
Aircraft Accident Investigation SMA-AS-EXTI-303 Additional Details
Aviation Safety Management Systems (ASMS) SMA-AS-EXTI-201 Additional Details
Basics of Aviation SMA-AS-WBT-100 Additional Details
Commercial Aircraft Safety Assessment and 1309 Design Analysis SMA-AS-EXTW-301 Additional Details
Conceptual Design Of Unmanned Aircraft Systems SMA-AS-EXTI-401 Additional Details
Digital Flight Control Systems: Analysis And Design SMA-AS-EXTI-403 Additional Details
FAA Certification Procedures And Airworthiness Requirements SMA-AS-EXTI-205 Additional Details
Flight Test Principles And Practices SMA-AS-EXTI-204 Additional Details
Gas Turbine Engine Accident Investigation SMA-AS-EXTI-305 Additional Details
Human Factors in Aviation Safety SMA-AS-EXTI-304 Additional Details
Performance Flight Testing II SMA-AS-EXTI-302 Additional Details
Principles of Aeroelasticity SMA-AS-EXTI-404 Additional Details
Range Safety Orientation - Web-Based SMA-AS-WBT-410 Additional Details

Instructor-Led Courses

Investigating Aircraft and Flight System Mishaps SMA-SAFE-NSTC-0018A

This course provides instruction in aviation and flight systems mishap investigation basics and policy.

Additional Details Launch SATERN
Investigating Aircraft and Flight System Mishaps SMA-SAFE-NSTC-0018A

This course provides instruction in aviation and flight systems mishap investigation basics and policy.

Additional Details Launch SATERN

Policy and Guidance

NASA

Policy Title Buttons Buttons
NPR 7900.3, Chapter 6
Aircraft Operations Management, Aviation Safety
Additional Details See NPR 7900.3
NPR 8715.3, Chapter 4
NASA General Safety Program Requirements, Aviation Safety
Additional Details See NPR 8715.3
NPD 7900.4
NASA Aircraft Operations Management Directive
Additional Details See NPD 7900.4

Non-NASA

41 CFR 102-33 Management of Government Aircraft

This policy from the General Services Administration covers what standards NASA should establish or require for Aviation Safety management. It requires that NASA implement the following: "By June 30, 2015, a Safety Management System (SMS) that complies with the FAA’s [Federal Aviation Administration's] current Advisory Circular that addresses Safety Management Systems (SMS) or an equivalent internationally recognized SMS standard."

See 41 CFR 102-33

Requirements and Training

Aviation Safety Officers (ASOs) must meet certain requirements, including some pertaining to training. NPR 7900.3, Aircraft Operations Management Manual lists these requirements as the following:

6.2.9 Aviation Safety Officer qualifications include the following:

The ASO shall hold qualification as a NASA PIC in primary research aircraft type used at the Center. [469]

b. The ASO, within 1 year of appointment, shall complete a 2-week course in aviation safety program management. [470] Within 2 years of appointment, the ASO shall have graduated from a recognized Military Aviation/Flight Safety Officer Course, or an Academic Aviation Safety Certificate Program (of at least 6-weeks duration). [471]

6.2.10 Aviation Safety Officer Recurrent Training requirements include the following:

6.2.10.1 Recurrent Training. Each Center shall establish a continuing education program to ensure that each ASO maintains adequate knowledge to discharge the duties of the office. [472] To maintain familiarity with the latest aviation safety principles as a NASA ASO, the ASO shall be actively engaged in the Center’s aviation operations program and complete 40 hours of continuing education in ASO course elements within 24 calendar months. [473] Training for ASOs include the following course elements:

a. Aviation Safety Program management.

b. System safety.

c. Aviation accident investigation.

d. Mishap planning.

e. Human factors.

f. Maintenance safety.

g. Risk management.

h. Aviation law.

i. Crew resource management.

j. Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

k. Aviation medicine/physiology.

ASOs also are encouraged to participate in the Safety and Mission Assurance Technical Excellence Program’s (STEP) Aviation Safety curriculum, especially STEP Level 1.

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) are considered part of NASA's fleet of aircraft. It's important that operators of these systems remain up-to-date on applicable requirements regarding aircraft operations conducted under NASA authority. The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance Aircraft Management Division's sUAS page has a series of resources available to help operators understand these details.

View sUAS Page

Federal Aviation Award Program

Award Recipient Year
Aviation Large Program of the Year Flight Operations, JSC 2015
Aviation Small Program of the Year Flight Operations, WFF 2015
Aviation Professional of the Year (Managerial Category) Al Micklewright, GRC 2015
Aviation Professional of the Year (Operational Category) Dan Swint, JSC 2015
Aviation Professional of the Year (Safety Category) Mark Russell, WFF 2015
Aviation Large Program of the Year Flight Operations, JSC 2014
Aviation Small Program of the Year Aircraft Operations, WFF 2014
Aviation Professional of the Year (Operational Category) Dan Swint, JSC 2014
Aviation Professional of the Year (Operational Category) Michael Cropper, WFF 2013
Aviation Professional of the Year (Safety Category) Jamal Abbed, HQ 2012
Aviation Professional of the Year (Managerial Category) Shane Dover, WFF 2012
Aviation Professional of the Year (Managerial Category) Tom Friers, KSC 2011
Aviation Large Program of the Year Aircraft Operations, JSC 2010
Aviation Professional of the Year (Managerial Category) Richard Clark, JSC 2009
Aviation Large Program of the Year Flight Operations, AFRC 2008
Aviation Professional of the Year (Managerial Category) Dave Finney, JSC 2007
Aviation Professional of the Year (Operational Category) Kurt Blankenship, GRC 2006
Aviation Small Program of the Year Flight Operations, KSC 2005
Aviation Professional of the Year (Operational Category) Bud Schutte, GRC 2005
Aviation Professional of the Year (Managerial Category) Howie Lewis, LaRC 2005
Aviation Professional of the Year (Managerial Category) Bob Naughton, JSC 2003
Aviation Large Program of the Year Aircraft Operations, JSC 2001