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Research & data analysis program

In addition to independent 'no blame' investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences, the ATSB contributes to improved transport safety in Australia through:

  • safety data recording, analysis and research; and

  • fostering safety awareness, knowledge and action.

Awareness and understanding of transport safety issues is increased through a range of activities including consultation, education, and the promulgation of research and investigation findings and recommendations. These contribute to the national and international body of safety knowledge and foster action for the improvement of safety systems and operations.

As part of this commitment, the ATSB will publish its safety research program for the financial year including a list of all active and proposed safety research projects. This program may be updated during the financial year to reflect changes to priorities and scope.


ATSB Research/Safety Studies Program: 2016

Air transport pilot survey

The ATSB is conducting a major survey of air transport pilots on issues relating to safety culture and experiences. The safety culture questions will update early research conducted by the ATSB in 2003. The safety experiences questions explore experiences pilots have had in the previous 12 months, with a focus on areas that are not well informed through occurrence reporting. Responses will assist the ATSB to identify the strengths and areas for development in the aviation industry, with the key aim of improving aviation safety. The results will be published as multiple research reports on the ATSB website, and will establish a significant bench mark for the state of aviation safety in Australia.

The survey is now open to any pilot conducting regular public transport or charter operations. Participation is voluntary and all responses will be anonymous individually and by operator. The responses will be published in aggregated form. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Reliability of aviation weather forecasts

Following a small number of safety occurrences involving aircraft inbound to Sydney or Adelaide where unforecast weather events have led to unforeseen diversions or holding, this research investigation will examine how often weather events are not forecast in enough time for airlines to make appropriate decisions (carry additional fuel, timely diversion or delayed take-offs). It will analyse Bureau of Meteorology weather data for major Australian airports. The results of this report should help airlines and pilots better understand how much reliance can be given to forecasted weather at destination airports at the time of pre-flight planning.

The first report to be published in 2016 will outline the reliability of weather forecasts at both Mildura and Adelaide airports. Analysis of other major airports will be conducted in the following 12 to 18 months and released as separate reports.

Aviation occurrence statistics: 2006-2015

Based on the thousands of reported occurrences the ATSB receives each year, this report aims to give information back to the aviation industry on what accidents and incidents have happened, how often they are happening, and what we can learn from them. This annual report documents the trends over the past decade, with an emphasis on occurrences from 2014. It will document aviation activity, and the number and rate of occurrences by operation type, aircraft type, and the type of occurrence.

Aviation occurrence statistics reports are available under the statistical publication page.

Safety in the vicinity of non-controlled aerodromes

Most aerodromes in Australia are located in uncontrolled airspace and do not have an air traffic control presence. At these non-controlled aerodromes, and in the vicinity of them, pilots are responsible for making themselves aware of nearby aircraft and maintaining separation. This report aims to give pilots an appreciation of the types of safety events that have been associated with operations at non-controlled aerodromes and provide education on expected behaviours to assist pilots in being prepared for the risks. This report will provide an update to an earlier 2010 report (AR-2008-044) on the same topic, looking at the last five years’ worth of incident and accident data at these locations.

Aviation wildlife strike statistics

Bird and animal strikes are common aviation incidents that are mostly low risk but with a potential to cause damage to aircraft and injury to occupants. The ATSB now records about 1,800 bird and animal strikes each year based on reports from pilots, aerodrome staff, and aircraft operators. Considerable effort is given by the aviation industry to control wildlife, and this report will help identify where the greatest efforts need to be directed. An update from the previous edition (published in 2014), this edition will also include an analysis of geographical locations.

Aviation trend monitoring

Every 6 months, the ATSB analyses occurrence data over the past 5 years to look for trends. The process is data driven, where all occurrence types are analysed separately for high capacity air transport, low capacity air transport, and general and recreational aviation. Trends of interest, based on a statistically significant increase or decrease in the past 6 months compared to the previous 5 years, are further explored to understand where individual operators, aircraft types, locations, etc., are the source of the change.

In 2016, the ATSB is developing the trend analysis methodology further to include analysis based on locations, based on aircraft models, and possibly safety factors.

Trend analysis reports are useful for operators, service providers and regulators to help understand emerging issues in aviation safety to prevent them from leading to significant accidents.

Trend analysis reports are available under the statistical publication page.



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Last update 16 August 2016