NOTE: This fact sheet has been superseded by the
NASA Aviation Safety Program: Initiative Will Reduce Aviation
Fatalities fact sheet
NASA's Aviation Safety Program: Making the Skies Safer
The goal of the NASA Aviation Safety Program is to reduce the
fatal aircraft accident rate by 80 percent in 10 years, and by 90
percent in two decades. The ambitious $500-million program is a
partnership that includes NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA), the aviation industry and the Department of Defense.
NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., is leading the
safety program. Critical roles also are being played by three other
NASA field installations: Ames Research Center in Moffett Field,
Calif.; Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.; and Lewis
Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Aviation Safety Program was created by NASA Administrator
Daniel S. Goldin in response to a report from the White House
Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, chaired by Vice
President Al Gore. The program also is part of a new "Three Pillars
for Success" initiative that spells out what NASA will do to
achieve national priorities in aeronautics and space transportation
Major strides have been made in the last 40 years to make flying
the safest of all major modes of transportation. More technological
advances are needed, however, to prevent a rise in accidents if air
traffic triples as predicted in the next 20 years.
The safety program will emphasize not only accident reduction,
but also a decrease in injuries when accidents do occur. The
program will include research to reduce human-error-caused
accidents and incidents, predict and prevent mechanical and
software malfunctions, and eliminate accidents involving hazardous
weather and controlled flight into terrain.
The program also will use information technology to build a
safer aviation system to support pilots and air traffic
controllers. The FAA will help define requirements and actions to
enact many of the safety standards. The Department of Defense is
expected to share in technology development as well as apply safety
advances to military aircraft.
NASA has planned for about $500 million over five years for this
and related safety programs, with more funding expected to follow.
Funding is coming from reprogramming existing aeronautics funds,
and by reassigning people and the work of NASA facilities.
NASA, in partnerships with the FAA and private industry, has
made significant accomplishments in aviation safety. Some examples
For information, please contact:
- Providing technology for advanced warning of wind shear;
- Designing advanced air-traffic-management equipment and
- Developing ways to ensure older aircraft are as structurally
sound as new ones;
- Improving engine reliability, systems and displays;
- Developing advanced ice-protection concepts to improve aircraft
- Improving the control of general aviation aircraft stall and
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