Aviation safety issues and actions

Procedures for uploading balloon forecasts

Issue number: AO-2018-016-SI-01
Who it affects: All balloon operators and pilots in the Melbourne region
Issue owner: Bureau of Meteorology
Transport function: Aviation: General aviation
Background: Investigation Report AO-2018-016
Issue release date: 30 October 2018
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the safety action will reduce the risk associated with this safety issue.

Safety issue description

The Bureau of Meteorology did not have a procedure to ensure that a recording of the local weather forecast for balloon operations in the Melbourne area was correctly uploaded and accessible to balloon pilots.

Proactive Action

Action number: AO-2018-016-NSA-002
Action organisation: Bureau of Meteorology
Date: 30 October 2018
Action status: Closed

As a result of this occurrence, the Bureau of Meteorology advised the ATSB that it had updated the recording system to be more user-friendly and robust, as well as other safety actions. More specifically, the Bureau stated:

The new recording system automatically uploads and replays the briefing to the forecaster, which confirms the recording has successfully uploaded. This removes the final step of manual activation of the recording hence reducing the risk of a human error.

While it was common practice to include a date and time at the start of each recording, the procedures have been updated to formalise this requirement. In addition, further information has been provided in the procedures on detailing wind changes in the briefing.

The Bureau advised that they provide briefing services to balloon operators at various locations across Australia, but the service varies state to state. The Bureau in consultation with aviation industry is in the process of reviewing balloon forecasting services nationally with the view to providing a nationally consistent and standard service to balloon operators in the future.


Last update 30 October 2018