Aviation safety issues and actions

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Pty Ltd TAWS under reporting

Issue number: AO-2013-085-SI-03
Who it affects: Virgin Australia Regional Airlines flight crew
Issue owner: Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Pty Ltd
Transport function: Aviation: Air transport
Background: Investigation Report AO-2013-085
Issue release date: 12 March 2015
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the safety action by VARA has increased its TAWS reporting rates to the industry standard for similar aircraft models flown by similar Australian operators.

Safety issue description

There was a significant underreporting by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Pty Ltd ATR72 terrain awareness warning system-related occurrences.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2013-085_SI-03
Action organisation: Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Pty Ltd
Date: 12 March 2015
Action status: Closed

In response to this occurrence, the flight operations section directed crew, through Memo FOG 1932.13, to submit occurrence reports for all terrain awareness warning system (TAWS) and ground proximity warning system (GPWS) occurrences. In addition, the processes for reporting GPWS (TAWS) events have been added to the flight operations policy and procedures manual and supporting internal processes have been developed to ensure all reports are reviewed by the safety department and passed to the ATSB as applicable. Safety department data since these actions shows that the reporting rate of these occurrences from Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Pty Ltd (VARA) to the ATSB has increased to the industry standard.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB notes VARA’s additional guidance to crew regarding the reporting of all GPWS (TAWS) occurrences and changes to its internal reporting procedures. The increased reporting rate from the airline indicates that these changes have addressed this issue.

Additional safety action

The ATSB has been advised of the following proactive safety action in response to this occurrence.

VARA advised the ATSB that following this occurrence:

  • their ATR fleet has been incorporated into the company cyclic recurrent check programme
  • safety promotion briefings have been provided to all company pilots
  • safety publications have been produced that alert crew to the inherent defences in the application of standard operating procedures and threat and error management.
Last update 13 July 2016