Aviation safety issues and actions

Restraint use in parachuting aircraft

Issue number: AO-2014-053-SI-04
Who it affects: Australian parachuting industry
Issue owner: Occurrence operator
Transport function: Aviation: General aviation
Background: Investigation Report AO-2014-053
Issue release date: 23 June 2017
Current issue status: No longer relevant
Issue status justification:

The safety issue owner is no longer conducting parachuting operations.

Safety issue description

It was likely that the parachutists on the accident flight, as well as those that had participated in previous flights, were not secured to the single-point restraints that were fitted to VH-FRT. While research indicates that single-point restraints provide limited protection when compared to dual-point restraints, they do reduce the risk of load shift following an in-flight upset, which can lead to aircraft controllability issues.

Proactive action

Action number: AO-2014-053-NSA-04
Action organisation: Operator
Date: 23 June 2017
Action status: Closed

While the operator did not provided any specific comment in relation to the safety issue, they advised that they had ceased operation.

Proactive action

Action number: AO-2014-053-NSA-05
Action organisation: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Date: 23 June 2017
Action status: Closed

CASA advised that there are regulations in place that make the use of single point restraints mandatory for all non-aircrew occupants of skydiving aircraft during take-off, landing, flights below 1,000ft and during turbulence. They also stated that APF auditors examine parachute aircraft restraints and their use during their annual audit process.

Proactive action

Action number: AO-2014-053-NSA-06
Action organisation: Australian Parachute Federation
Date: 23 June 2017
Action status: Closed

The APF advised that they did not believe that the failure to use installed single point restraints was widespread across the parachuting industry.

ATSB comment:

The safety issue owner was the occurrence operator. As they are no longer conducting parachuting operations, the issue is no longer relevant. While ATSB investigation 200600001 similarly identified that the single‑point restraints were not utilised, there is insufficient evidence to determine if this is a broader issue across the parachuting industry.

As discussed in relation to safety issue AO-2014-053-SI-03, although single‑point restraints should be used as they provide some occupant protection, research has identified that dual‑point restraints offer a superior level of safety for rear facing occupants.

Last update 06 November 2020