Australia Identifies Aviation Safety Risks

 - April 8, 2013, 2:12 PM

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently identified 100 safety risks across its aviation, marine and rail areas of responsibility, 36 of which relate to transport-category aviation. The ATSB report covers the period July 2009 through June 2012. Most risks were operationally focused within the aircraft itself, with a much smaller percentage related to ATC.

Air transport risks in 2011and 2012 also outweighed those identified as related to general aviation by three to one. Only five investigations, however, were categorized as complex (serious).

The most critical event that generated a safety recommendation was the tail strike and runway overrun involving an Airbus A340 at Melbourne Airport in March 2009. The Airbus pilots became distracted while taxiing out to the runway and entered incorrect weight data into the FMS, causing the pilot flying to rotate the aircraft early, resulting in substantial tail damage. The investigation found that existing takeoff certification standards for European- and U.S.-built aircraft (and subsequent flight crew training in conducting takeoffs) are based on the attainment of takeoff reference speeds, rather than the ability to detect degraded takeoff acceleration.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued this safety recommendation to the FAA to harmonize certification efforts on takeoff performance monitoring systems and address issues with the existing takeoff certification standards and flight-crew training.