Aviation safety issues and actions

Compromised separation recovery training

Issue number: AO-2014-096-SI-01
Who it affects: All Department of Defence air traffic controllers
Issue owner: Department of Defence
Transport function: Aviation: Airspace management
Background: Investigation Report AO-2014-096
Issue release date: 05 December 2016
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action taken by the Defence in response to AO-2012-131-SI-05, which was enacted after the occurrence at Townsville in 2014, also adequately addresses safety issue AO-2014-096-SI-01. Compromised separation recovery training is included in Defence air traffic controller initial and currency proficiency assessments. In addition, video and computer-based training in compromised separation recovery techniques is a pre-requisite for Defence controllers’ 6-monthly currency assessments. It is also included in the simulator scenarios of Defence air traffic units at all military aerodromes to which civil scheduled services operate.

Safety issue description

Compromised separation recovery training deficiencies existed within the Department of Defence at the time of the occurrence, increasing the risk of inappropriate management of aircraft in close proximity.

Note: This safety issue was identified as part of ATSB investigation AO-2012-131 as safety issue AO-2012-131-SI-05 and resulted in the ATSB issuing safety recommendation AO‑2012‑131‑SR‑042 on 2 October 2014 (after the date of this occurrence at Townsville). The information below is a summary of the action taken by the Department of Defence (Defence) at that time. That action resulted in the ATSB determining that, overall, the safety action by Defence adequately addressed safety issue AO-2012-131-SI-05.

Safety action taken by the Department of Defence in response to the previous safety issue AO-2012-131-SI-05

In response to safety issue AO-2012-131-SR-042, Defence initiated regular refresher training for current controllers and developed extensive training methods to ensure a high level of controller familiarity with compromised separation recovery actions.

Last update 02 December 2019