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Is My Story ASAP Worthy?

Mobility Air Forces ASAP Submission Guidance

By MSGT ROBERT “GIFF” BOSCHÉ, AMC Ops RAMS

In our discussions with Mobility Airmen from across the globe over the last couple of years, we have fielded many questions about what qualifiers make an event worthy of an ASAP submission. These questions often come up during our quarterly OpsRAMS instructor orientation.

As you can well imagine, a classroom full of experienced Mobility Air Force (MAF) instructors and evaluators talking flight safety offers a seemingly inexhaustible catalog of “There I was …” aviation tales. These stories run the gamut from experiencing systems failures no one had ever heard of before and for which no checklist existed, to making a simple error that only by pure chance didn’t kill someone, to being threatened with being shot down by a foreign air traffic controller while oceanic in international airspace.

Each of these stories presents untold opportunities for lessons learned not just for the crew involved at debrief or around the room at a squadron hangar fly, but also for the entire MAF community! As proactive safety professionals, of course, we’re spring loaded to ask, “Did you consider filing an ASAP?” More often than not, the answer is no, and the reason given most often is along the lines of “I didn’t think that was an ASAP.”

This is a fair answer and one that has been on our minds as we continuously work to enhance awareness and understanding of ASAP and maximize its value to Mobility Airmen. If you’ve read one or more of our articles in The Mobility Forum or in our OpsRAMS newsletter, you’ve likely heard us suggest that while not every unusual event or hazard qualifies as a safety report, nearly every unusual event or hazard presents an opportunity for hazard mitigation and safety enhancement. This sentiment is right in line with guidance straight out of AMCI 10-502 OpsRAMS:

ASAP is designed for Airmen to report information and concepts critical to resolving mishap precursors, and the sharing of this information across AF aviation communities…to reduce mishaps through operational, logistic, maintenance, training, and procedural enhancements.

The ASAP program and your AMC OpsRAMS staff, with the oversight of the AMC Deputy Commander, are your direct link to our vast cross-command, cross-functional network of MAJCOM staff and subject matter experts who have the means to address challenges to operational safety and efficiency across the mobility enterprise.

Still wondering what is ASAP worthy? In the simplest terms and with few exceptions, an ASAP can be any error, observed hazard, or unsafe situation that—in the opinion of the front line Airman (i.e., YOU)—compromises the safety or security of people or resources. While this casts a wide net, we’d like to offer the following list of reasons to submit an ASAP report. This list is part of a guide a major domestic airline distributes to its own aircrews; it was shared with us by a reservist on the AMC staff. It is not exhaustive but it does show the vast diversity of events the airline feels are important for its crews to identify and share across the company. Remember, while this specific list is aircrew-centric, benchmark ASAP programs at today’s airlines cover nearly every airline employee from flight crew to dispatch to maintenance. The Air Force Aviation Safety Action Program is for ALL AIRMEN in all specialties.

Still in doubt? Just submit it! The OpsRAMS staff’s dedicated ASAP analysts will take care of the rest. As stated, and in accordance with paragraph 4.5 of the OpsRAMS operating instruction, there are a few conditions under which an ASAP may be excluded, such as criminal acts, substance abuse, intentional falsification, and intentional disregard for safety or security concerns. That being said, in the nine-year history of the program, AMC has never rejected an ASAP. Our analysts work diligently to redact personally identifying or potentially sensitive information while retaining your valuable lessons learned.

One of the great advantages we enjoy and celebrate in our MAF community is a rich diversity and depth of experience in our Airmen. Don’t let it go to waste. Share your experiences with ASAP today!