|| The Air Force Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) is a non-punitive, unobtrusive, peer-to-peer cockpit observation program that collects safety-related flight data during normal operations in order to assess safety margins and improvement measures.
The program started as a joint effort between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and university researchers to check the success of Crew Resource Management (CRM) use in the airline industry during the 1990s. Air Mobility Command conducted its first LOSA in 2011, and the Air Force Safety Center promotes the assessments as a best practice for all major commands.
The purpose behind LOSA is to provide leaders with early warnings of developing safety problems. The program works by selecting and training highly qualified pilots to ride on cockpit jump seats during routine flights to record the threats encountered by aircrew, the types of errors committed and how the crews managed those threats and errors in order to maintain safety. How crews manage threats and errors provides excellent insights into training and organizational culture. LOSA observers also study CRM performance and perform a carefully structured interview to collect aircrew input for safety improvement.
Benefits of using LOSA include systematically and scientifically identifying the strengths and weaknesses of normal operations, decreasing the frequency of undesirable events, assessing the quality and usability of procedures, detecting inappropriate techniques, identifying design issues with automation as evidenced through mode errors and aircrew use, and detecting normalization of deviance in the form of workarounds and shortcuts used by aircrew, air traffic controllers and dispatchers.
Although LOSAs are currently being administered only within certain MAF mission design series (MDS) communities, the Air Force Safety Center believes that LOSA can be used successfully by all MDS communities, to include Combat Air Forces/Air Combat Command (CAF/ACC) aircraft with observation capability and remotely piloted aircraft. Additionally, LOSA-type proactive safety programs can be used with great results in airfield operations, maintenance and dispatch.
This is the cutting edge of mishap prevention. Welcome to LOSA!