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A new ATSB research investigation report analyses the 37 midair collisions in Australia from 1961 to 2003. None involved scheduled passenger (RPT) aircraft and over three quarters involved general aviation aircraft that collided in good weather in or near the circuit area of an airport.

Of the 78% of midair collisions in circuit areas, nearly half occurred on the final leg of the circuit or on the base-to-final turn. Most midair collisions occurred between aircraft converging on similar courses, or flying in the same direction. A range of contributing factors were evident, but there were no dominant factors.

Nineteen of the collisions resulted in fatalities. A high proportion of the midair collisions occurred at the five major Australian general aviation airports; namely Archerfield, Bankstown, Jandakot, Moorabbin and Parafield.

The rate of midair collisions between 1981 and 2003 was similar to the rate in the US, however the US had a higher proportion of midair collisions away from the circuit area. This is consistent with the greater traffic density and general aviation flying activity in the US.

The characteristics of the contributing factors involved in Australian midair collisions were generally similar to those observed in other countries, such as the US, France and Canada.

The ATSB is seeking comment on its Aviation Research Discussion Paper by 31 May 2004, with a view to incorporating supported suggestions for improvement.

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Last update 01 April 2011