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Safety Action

Summary

As a result of investigation into this and similar occurrences, the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation issued the following interim recommendations to Airservices Australia:

IR970112 (issued on 14 July 1997)

"The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that Airservices Australia review the provision of air traffic services to maximise the use of the currently available radar coverage particularly on routes used by regular public transport aircraft.

The following response was received from Airservices Australia on 21 October 1997:

"Airservices Australia is reviewing the provision of air traffic services with regard to maximising the use of radar services both within and outside controlled airspace".

As you are aware, the Airspace 2000 proposal which Airservices planned to introduce on the 26th February 1998, comprehensively addresses the extension of radar services. These radar enhanced services include:

Radar Class E airspace from Cairns to Melbourne above 8,500 feet.

A Radar - Information Service (RIS) in Class G airspace within radar coverage.

The Board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has deferred making a decision on the proposal. Regardless of the outcome of the Airspace 2000 review by CASA, Airservices intends proceeding with three initiatives to enhance radar services on the 26th of February 1998.

Radar Class E airspace will be introduced between 8500 feet and FL125 outside existing Class C airspace from Grafton to Canberra within radar coverage. Brisbane Enroute will provide radar services within the Class C control area steps over Coffs Harbour down to 4500 feet. Sydney Terminal Control Unit will provide radar services to 45nm Sydney in non controlled airspace on a discrete frequency. These initiatives will increase Airservices use of existing radar coverage for air traffic services. Further expansion of radar services is limited pending decisions on Airspace 2000 by CASA."

Response classification - CLOSED-ACCEPTED

IR980005 (issued on 24 March 1998)

"The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that Airservices Australia review the guidance in the MATS for the passing of traffic information by ATS personnel to ensure pilots have adequate time to assess the potential for conflict with other aircraft".

The following response (in part) was received from Airservices Australia on 27 May 1998:

"ATS Operational Policy Branch is developing comprehensive procedures for processing traffic information under the new environment".

Response classification: OPEN

IR980021 (issued on 24 March 1998)

"The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that Airservices Australia review ATS proficiency and continuation training requirements with a view to personnel undertaking specific traffic information simulator training on a regular basis".

The following response was received from Airservices Australia on 27 May 1998:

"Airservices has developed its refresher training program for delivery to operational Air Traffic Services officers to emphasise elements dealing with the provision of traffic information and actions to be taken when separation has or may have been compromised".

Response classification: OPEN

IR980059 (issued on 22 April 1998)

"The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that Airservices Australia review air traffic service procedures relating to the combining of a number of operator positions and/or frequencies with a view to reducing the impact of frequency congestion.

The following response was received from Airservices Australia on 4 June 1998:

In addition to AIC H34/97, Airservices provides direction to ATS staff regarding the use of retransmit facilities in MATS 12-4-2 which shows "To reduce frequency congestion and interference on pilot broadcasts or other pilot-to-pilot communications being used for self separation, the retransmit facility should be operated in the "OFF" mode whenever practicable."

A number of other factors, in the context of the Airspace 2000 initiatives, relating to the provision of services are currently being discussed with CASA. Implementation of aspects of these initiatives would affect not only the way services are provided but the way in which ATS frequencies are used.

Airservices will continue to monitor the effects of retransmit facilities pending resolution of a number of issues associated with the implementation of CASA's Airspace 2000 initiatives".

Response classification: OPEN

Additionally, the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation is investigating a safety deficiency relating to Air Traffic Services' responses to in-flight emergencies.

Any safety output issued as a result of this deficiency analysis will be published in the Bureau's Quarterly Safety Deficiency Report.

 
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