The ATSB today released a report warning pilots on the dangers of flying visually at night following a number of fatal accidents that occurred in dark-night conditions.

The report comes shortly after the release of the ATSB’s investigation into the fatal helicopter crash at Lake Eyre where the pilot likely became spatially disoriented during a visual flight at night.

ATSB Chief Commissioner, Mr Martin Dolan, said accidents involving visual flight at night are becoming an increasing safety concern in Australian aviation.

“Over the past 20 years, the ATSB has investigated 36 accidents as a result of visual flight at night. Of these accidents, 27 had fatal outcomes which tragically led to 58 fatalities,” Mr Dolan said.

“Even when undertaken by appropriately qualified pilots, night flight clearly presents an added level of complexity.

“But accidents of this nature are avoidable and can be managed by pilots maintaining their proficiency, knowing their own personal limitations and only flying in environments that do not exceed their capabilities.”

The report, which features case studies on several night-flight accidents, helps pilots better understand and manage the dangers of flying at night.

Visual flight at night accidents: What you can’t see can still hurt you

Media contact: 1800 020 616
Last update 06 March 2014