Research in Engineering and Aviation

Adapting Line Operations Safety Audits to General Aviation


Author(s):  Steckel, R., & Patankar, M. 


This study explored the use of a Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) incorporating a Threat and Error Management (TEM) model, and use of flight data monitoring technology in the collegiate aviation flight-training program at Saint Louis University‟s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology. There were three objectives of this study: 1) Research the use of new technologies in general aviation for the purpose of collecting LOSA data, 2) Analyze the threats, errors, and undesired aircraft states that occur during normal general aviation flights in a collegiate flight-training program, 3) Explore the organizational and safety culture issues associated with the implementation of LOSA into a general aviation organization.

Available commercial off the shelf (COTS) video and flight data recording equipment were evaluated for use in this study. The selected equipment was installed in two Piper PA-28R- 201 aircraft used by the flight-training program at Saint Louis University.

Data were collected and analyzed from these aircraft to determine how well the equipment records threats, errors and undesired aircraft states that occur on a typical flight, along with how the instructor and student managed these events. The research results indicate that the current technologies are capable of collecting adequate LOSA data. Participants recognized and correctly addressed 90% of threats but failed to detect 76% of errors that occurred during data collection. The state of the organization‟s safety culture plays a critical role in determining the success of a LOSA program.

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