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A bulletin released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) today reveals that unauthorised and unnecessary low-level flying has contributed to the deaths of at least 12 people during the past 10 years.

The bulletin, the first in the series of the ATSB's avoidable accidents publications, presents case studies on the dangers of flying low. It also focuses on the key safety lessons learnt from each of these cases.

The ATSB's Director of Safety Data, Research and Technical, Mr Julian Walsh, said the bulletin aims to educate the flying community and general public about the inherent hazards of unauthorised low-level flying.

"The key lesson we've learnt from this report is that these tragedies were avoidable. Low-level flying is risky and should be avoided when there is no reason to do it," Mr Walsh said.

"When a pilot flies low they encounter obstacles, such as powerlines, that are difficult to see and difficult to avoid. There's also very little time to recover control of the aircraft if something goes wrong.

"I sincerely hope that pilots take heed of lessons detailed in this bulletin and consider the potentially tragic consequences of low-level flying."

The ATSB will release further bulletins from the avoidable accidents series in the future. The topics are based on trends in the types of accidents that have been reported to the ATSB.

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Last update 01 April 2011
 

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Avoidable Accidents No. 1 - Low-level flying