Aviation safety issues and actions

Compromised separation recovery training

Issue number: AO-2011-011-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-2011-011
Issue release date: 07 March 2012
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

DoD has appropriately addressed the safety issue with the addition of compromised separation recovery training to SATC courses, in both simualtor and theory components, as well as the development of refresher training for flights. In the interim, DoD has initiated controller 'quizzes' and brifings on CSRT techniques.

Safety issue description

The Department of Defence’s air traffic controllers had not received training in compromised separation recovery techniques.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2011-011-NSA-008
Action organisation: Department of Defence
Date: 07 March 2012
Action status: Closed

Post-incident 453SQN WLM FLT initiated directed controller briefings on Safety Alerting and has since conducted regular (fortnightly on average) scenario-based quizzing of controllers. All four Safety Alert criteria (Restricted Airspace, Terrain, Obstructions and other aircraft) have been cyclically addressed including interactive discussion of the issues likely to be faced by aircrew and priorities for controllers. An increased focus on Safety Alerting has been included in ground school and OJT material.

The result has been a marked increase in use of Safety Alerting when required and a higher fidelity of standard and complete execution. Wing wide, Safety Alert phraseology has been given significantly greater emphasis in all 44WG Core knowledge theory exam banks.

Additionally the School of Air Traffic Control (SATC) advises that Compromised Separation Recovery Training (COMSERT) including the use of Safety alerts has been given significant emphasis in initial and post graduate courseware.

This includes:

• Additional theory time on safety alerts into regular courseware

• Mandatory safety/traffic alerts in approximately 75% of TWR and APR simulator exercises, achieved by: o Circuit aircraft deliberately turning contrary to as instructed (into conflict) o Unidentified aircraft flying through the ATZ without a clearance o Aircraft deliberately descending below MVA o Aircraft busting assigned levels to create separation conflicts

• Inclusion of safety/traffic alerts as an assessed skill in the summative exercises, ie correct use of safety alerts is required for graduation Development of COMSERT training to 44WG Flights is underway. The intent of which is to allow for refresher training at a home location. When finalised, this training will be available to all ADF ATC.

ATSB comment:

The Safety Action taken by Department of Defence is an effective and appropriate response to the identified safety issue.

Last update 30 January 2014