From REC to REX
In autumn 2010, the BEA decided that a working group should be created to define a system as successor to the REC Confidential Reporting System. This working group brought together the DGAC (French general aviation directorate), the Institute for improving aviation safety (IASA) and the national council for aeronautical and sporting Federations (CNFAS).
The system, renamed REX, for “Retour d'Expérience” in French (“Feedback” in English), was thus kept alive. It is managed by each of the three main federations and has been accessible, since September 2011, through their internet sites:
- Fédération Française Aéronautique (FFA – French Aeronautical Federation) ;
- Fédération Française de Flight à Voile (FFVV – French Glider Federation) ;
- Fédération Française d'ULM (FFPLUM – French Microlight Federation) ;
- Fédération Française de giraviation (FFG – French Giraviation Federation) ;
- Fédération Française de parachutisme (FFP – French Parachuting Federation) ;
- Fédération RSA (Réseau du Sport de l'Air – Aerial Sport Network Federation).
Overview of the REC
The REC was created by the BEA in 2000 in concert with the DGAC and the associations of users of general and leisure aviation.
This system gave an opportunity to any pilot, mechanic or controller that had experienced any unusual and inconsequential situation to write a report and to send it to the REC by means of a written form or by e-mail. On reception of this report, the REC official contacted the writer by phone in order to obtain further information and discuss the event with him/her. The report was then inserted in the REC database with the exception of names that may make the event or individuals identifiable. The original of the report was then returned to the writer. The REC kept no copies, thus ensuring the confidentiality of the writer's action.
The REC database was then used to create « REC Info », a 4 page publication grouping together several texts that illustrate a safety theme. This publication was distributed free to aero clubs, flying schools and administrations and was intended to improve awareness in the aviation community of the issues covered.
Voluntary feedback systems like the REC are a source of knowledge and reflection on human errors and individual and collective behaviour. It should be remembered that the REC's modus operandi did not allow it to use the techniques of the safety investigation, which is at the heart of the BEA's mission such as: technical examinations, additional research for facts or testimony. Consequently, the reports obtained often remained subjective. They nevertheless remained valuable as pedagogical tools and they remain so today.