Aviation Law Articles

F.A.A. – Have You Filed Your NASA Report?

Many aviators do not know when to file a N.A.S.A. Report. Some pilots do not know what a N.A.S.A. Report is! You should have a N.A.S.A. Report form in your back pocket (or close by) every time you exercise your license privileges because, by sending in a completed N.A.S.A. Report, it may save your from a certificate suspension or other F.A.A. sanction.

N.A.S.A. Reports, as commonly referenced, are forms used to implement the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Aviation Safety Reporting System. While the report form can be used by anyone to advise N.A.S.A. of an aviation safety issue (its primary purpose), it is mostly utilized by pilots, maintenance personnel and controllers to report problems that may result in an F.A.A. investigation and/or enforcement action. When used properly, it can be used as a “get out of jail” card.

Essentially, a N.A.S.A. Report must be sent in within 10 days of the safety-related incident. The form is sent to N.A.S.A. (acting as an independent agency) which then returns the “tear off” portion to the reporting person. This proves it was sent in and received in a timely manner. Importantly, 14 C.F.R. 91.25 prohibits N.A.S.A. Reports from being used for F.A.A. enforcement purposes. That is, N.A.S.A. does not (except for criminal offenses or accidents) notify the F.A.A. of the filing. Additionally, an F.A.A. violation must have been “inadvertent and not deliberate” and must not have involved a criminal offense. Also, there must not have been a prior violation within a period of five years. If an F.A.A. enforcement action arises, the airman can advise that a timely N.A.S.A. Report has been filed. In most cases, although a suspension may be found and placed on the record, no actual surrender of the certificate will be necessary.

A N.A.S.A. Report may be and, perhaps, should be filed after flight because you never know when you may have “inadvertently” and “not deliberately” violated one of the myriad F.A.A., T.F.R. or other rules and regulations. You will be able to say “yes” to: “Have you filed your N.A.S.A. Report?”
by Richard T. Miller, Specialist in Aviation Law – (818) 994-8234