Airline LOSA (fixed-wing)

Hazards that threaten the safety of flight deck operations have been historically scrutinized in the early days of Line Operations Safety Audits (LOSA). LOSA programs quickly evolved to use threat and error management as the heart of routine monitoring operations. LOSA programs follows this typical structure:

  • Observers identify and record safety threats;
  • Observers include specific threat management information;
  • Observers determine whether operational errors existed;
  • Observers list error management strategies taken; and
  • Observers identify how observed actions could trigger accidents and incidents.

Collected data are analyzed to help determine organizational strengths and weaknesses. Opportunities for improvement are also developed.

Helicopter LOSA

During the 1990s, LOSA methodology developed around jump-seat observations on regularly scheduled flights. Ground safety performance noticeably improved for these three frequently cited examples:

  • Delta Airlines;
  • Quantas; and
  • Continental Airlines.

Today many larger, well-respected helicopter operators, such as Caverton and CHC, strive to capitalize on benefits that LOSA has proven to provide to other aviation industry segments, including:

  • Maintenance LOSA;
  • Ramp LOSA; and
  • Fixed-wing flight operations' LOSA.



Cabin LOSA (C-LOSA) Program

For over 20 years, flight LOSA has proven to be a very valuable safety tool. LOSA's foundation is the Threat and Error Management (TEM) model.  Threat and error management believes that threats and errors are integral parts of aviation operations and must be managed.

The principles practiced in other LOSA programs hold true with cabin LOSA (C-LOSA). Cabin LOSA is a new program that seeks to realize safety benefits of other LOSA programs, including:

  • Flight LOSA;
  • Maintenance LOSA; and
  • Ramp LOSA.


Maintenance LOSA (M-LOSA)

For over five years, the FAA and major airlines have been taking LOSA principles developed for fixed wing operators and working to apply the same methodology to aviation maintenance operations.

This LOSA methodology is based on threat and error management (TEM). Once threats and errors have been identified in daily routine operations, observation data are analyzed to help design countermeasures to address the identified threats and errors.

Maintenance LOSA (M-LOSA) follows the same workflow and inferential statistical analysis that other types of LOSA practice.




In 2007, Flight Safety Foundation published a report citing the aviation industry was losing an estimated $5 billion annually due to ramp damage to aircraft.

A subsequent FAA report said that Ramp LOSA "holds promise as a means of reducing the incidents and accidents in ramp and maintenance operations because LOSA enables ramp and maintenance workers to identify and develop methods to address threats and errors before they lead to an incident or accident."

Sources: "Moving to Maintenance," Flight Safety Foundation, AerosafetyWorld, October 2011