Safety Reports Take On COVID-19 Flavor


The Aviation Safety Reporting System has been inundated with hundreds of reports from pilots, flight attendants and support personnel on flight safety issues directly related to COVID-19. NASA runs the program as a consequence-free method for aviation personnel to describe safety miscues that didn’t result in incidents. Acting on a request, NASA culled out all the COVID-19-related incidents it could identify and it tallied 841. Among the most common topics (aside from passengers refusing to wear masks) are errors made by rusty pilots. Pilots have claimed their lack of recency has been to blame for everything from missed clearances to having to make three tries for a gusty crosswind landing. “Air Carrier flight crew reported flying an unstabilized approach,” says one report synopsis. “First Officer was the Pilot Flying and had not flown in 30 days.”

Crews also reported incidents of air traffic control issues they attributed to staff shortages and closures. ATC personnel also reported those kinds of problems. “Pilot reported attempting to land at an airport with a closed Control Tower and other aircraft landing on an unlit runway at night,” said one of those reports. The overwhelming majority of safety concerns reported had nothing to do with actually flying the aircraft. Cabin crew reported dealing with everything from screaming children who couldn’t be masked to general COVID-19 fatigue. “Flight Attendant suggested many passengers seem more stressed than usual because of COVID-19 pandemic procedures,” said one report.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. What’s up in the pic. Is that a load in this guys diaper. A feed bag? Air is thin enough, one face tampon at a time bro.

  2. Just goes to show how overstaffed the airlines are with pilots considering how slow they are now. I wonder how many airline pilots are making more than the minimum in salary since they usually get paid by the flight hour.

  3. The “cattle car” mentality of most airlines in recent years has created enough tension and ill will among the flying public. The pandemic regulations have pretty well provided the tipping point for it all to boil over. My solution is to drive or fly my own.

  4. Getting a ride up in the tropopause is special and fun,why let the pretzels and underwear dampen the flight