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Emerging trends in Australian aviation safety July to December 2014

Emerging trends in Australian aviation safety July to December 2014

The US Securities Exchange Commission states that, ‘Past performance does not guarantee future results’, but in aviation safety, past performance can point to future accidents.

Tracking past performance is called trend analysis, and one way that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau helps to keep transport safe is by analysing trends in aviation safety occurrences and identifying actions that will reverse safety concerns.

Each six months the ATSB releases a report called Emerging trends in Australian aviation safety in which ATSB shares issues of interest with industry and other government agencies. People and organisations can then take safety action to prevent identified issues from resulting in accidents.

The ATSB monitors more than 100 different events for each three operation type and uses six-monthly reports to highlight emerging trends. In the second half of 2014 there were four increasing trends highlighted:

  • navigation aid failures affecting high capacity airline operations
  • turbulence and windshear affecting high capacity airline operations
  • aircraft to aircraft communications affecting low capacity airline and charter operations, and
  • ground proximity alerts affecting high capacity airline operations.

While the graphs show each of these emerging trends to be rising, the occurrence rate is exceptionally small. For example if we look at how often windshear and turbulence events affect larger airline aircraft operations, the rate is 0.08 per cent of flights. In other words, you would have to fly 1250 times before experiencing one of these occurrences. These sort of occurrences follow seasonal climatic conditions with peaks in the October to December quarter each year. Passengers can be assured that the ATSB will continue monitoring this trend.

When aviation safety incidents and accidents happen, they are reported to the ATSB. We investigate the most serious of these, but most reports are simply used to help build a picture of how prevalent certain types of occurrences are in different types of aviation operations.

The ATSB uses this data to look for emerging safety trends. By monitoring trends, issues of concern can be communicated and action taken to prevent accidents.

Read the ATSB report: Emerging trends in Australian aviation safety: July to December 2014


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Last update 30 June 2015