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A new ATSB investigation bulletin released today highlights five instances of aircraft coming too close to each other.

Two of these occurrences were 'breakdowns of separation,' taking place in airspace under Air Traffic Control, which has carefully defined standards to keep planes a set distance apart.

Several safety actions have come out of these occurrences, including the establishment of an awareness program for Air Traffic Controllers, and a systemic review by Airservices Australia.

Mr Joe Hattley, the ATSB's Assistant General Manager of Aviation Safety Investigations says the investigations bulletin provides a useful resource for the aviation industry to help improve safety.

'The bulletin covers a range of the ATSB's shorter investigations and highlights valuable safety lessons for pilots, operators and safety managers,' Mr Hattley says.

Other investigations covered in the bulletin included a depressurisation event, two instances of total power loss and a situation in which fumes and smoke appeared in a plane's cockpit. As a result of a wirestrike, an aircraft operator is working to put together a database of powerlines.

Released quarterly, the bulletin provides a summary of the less-complex factual investigation reports conducted by the ATSB. The results, based on information supplied by organisations or individuals involved in the occurrence, detail the facts behind the event, as well as any safety actions undertaken or identified. The bulletin also highlights important safety messages for the broader aviation community, drawing on earlier ATSB investigations and research.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin: First Quarter 2011 is available on the ATSB website.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
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Last update 16 May 2011