The ATSB recently joined CASA, Airservices and the BoM in Darwin to engage with local pilots about the challenges and risks when flying in the Top End during the wet season.

This video, produced by CASA, is a must see for all pilots flying in this part of the world during the annual wet season, which typically runs from September to March.

In the video, ATSB Senior Transport Safety Investigator Lee Ungermann talks about accidents that have occurred during wet season operations involving many young inexperienced pilots flying into weather perhaps beyond their capability or the capability of their aircraft.

"In the last 10 years the ATSB has recorded 123 weather related occurrences in the Northern Territory alone, and unfortunately three of these have involved fatal accidents," Mr Ungermann said.

In 2017, a Cessna 210 broke up in flight about 22 km to the east of Darwin, fatally injuring both pilots. Despite making track diversions to avoid severe thunderstorms, the aircraft entered an area of strong convective activity with rapidly developing rain cells. This resulted in the aircraft experiencing severe turbulence and possibly reduced visibility.

"The ATSB investigation found the pilot had requested a deviation from their intended flight track left or right by five nautical miles," Mr Ungermann said.

"In this particular circumstance, had the pilot been given a wider birth around those thunderstorms of greater than 10 nautical miles, it may very well have seen them outside of the influence of the turbulence and powerful conditions that are associated with these tropical storms."

The ATSB encourages pilots to use all available resources to avoid adverse weather, including forecasts and requesting air traffic control assistance. Awareness of the weather avoidance actions of other pilots in the area can also be useful.

"Education is definitely the one thing, but also communication would be the second," Mr Ungermann said.

"Talk to their chief pilots, talk to their more experienced pilots about operating in the northern weather areas and to understand exactly what is expected of them from their employer before they head out so that they can then make informed decisions and safe weather-related decisions."

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