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ATSB Investigator videos

In an uncompromising, timely and collective manner, the ATSB searches for truth to enhance transport safety.

ATSB investigators videos

In the 2015–16 financial year, the ATSB completed 44 aviation safety investigations and 90 short factual investigations. In the marine sector, it completed seven safety investigations while in the rail sector there were 19 safety investigations.

The ATSB does this with just 103 staff, half of whom are investigators.

So how do the investigators go about their work? The short answer is that it depends on what part of the investigation they are working on.

Laura Henwood is an ATSB Recorder Specialist, working mostly in the rail and marine sectors.

Recorders may have been damaged in an accident or incident so special precautions are used to ensure they make it back to the laboratory without losing any data.

In the lab, the information is retrieved and provided to the investigating team. A range of inputs along with images and video can be used to build a picture of the circumstances leading up to an accident or incident.


Heather Fitzpatrick specialises in aviation human factors.

It's difficult for some to understand how somebody with a lot of experience, say a pilot, can become involved in an accident. Why didn’t their experience save them?

By applying human factors principles, Heather can help explain not only what happened, but why. Because the worst of accidents can happen to the best of people.


Max Marton specialises in aircraft systems and their technical aspects.

He will attend an accident site and start piecing together the remains of an aircraft, some of which may be heavily fragmented.

Max may look at recorders, GPS systems, mobile devices, fuel systems and the engine and how it was performing prior to the accident. Other factors, such as crew history and the organisation behind them are also considered.

While an accident site provides evidence of what happened, it’s the ‘why’ that’s fundamental to the work of the ATSB and its mission to improve transport safety.


More videos available on our YouTube channel


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Last update 02 December 2016