Computer ATC Police: TARP and Pilot Deviations

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Computer ATC Police: TARP and Pilot Deviations
The FAA has a program called Traffic Analysis Review Program (TARP), which relies on an automatic system that monitors pre-established separation parameters and generates alerts when an aircraft approaches the limits of these parameters. Each TARP alert creates an Electronic Occurrence Report (EOR) that is forwarded to an ATO Service Area Safety Office for review. Committees at these safety offices review each EOR and decide if a Pilot Deviation (PD) will be filed. Due to the automation involved, deviations can result without the local ATC’s knowledge.

In addition to TARP, controllers are now required to report any safety-of-flight occurrence they observe using Mandatory Occurrence Reports (MOR). Much like EORs, MORs are forwarded to the Service Area Safety Offices for review. I have heard of controllers being disciplined for not reporting issues that TARP captures. This and the centralization of industry workers tasked with determining whether a PD has occurred has led to an increase in the number and type of PDs reported.

FAA enforcement action

What does all this mean to me? What you don’t know CAN hurt you!

If you are under ATC control and the following occurs you will be reported to your local FAA offices as a Pilot Deviation.

  • Landing without a clearance
  • Stray from your assigned heading or altitude and causing a loss of separation
  • Terrain separation issues
  • Runway incursion
  • Runway excursion

The scary thing is, this could happen automatically and you might not know you did something wrong. Even if the controller says, “no biggie”, the automatic system is still in play.

This is mostly an airline or corporate pilot issue since they are constantly under positive ATC control, but you need to be vigilant on your flights as well. If you suspect you may have caused an issue, I would consider filling out a NASA report.

Don’t be discouraged, just know the playing field.

by Brent

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