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Tuesday, 28 April 1987
Page: 1932

(Question No. 1651)


Senator Sheil asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, on 24 February 1987:

(1) Will the Minister for Aviation supply a complete breakdown of all statistics and causes of all accidents and incidents involving aircraft operated by the Department of Aviation and its predecessor organisations since the end of the second World War.

(2) How does the accident rate for departmentally operated aircraft compare with the Australian regular public transport airlines.


Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation computer records of accidents and incidents go back to the beginning of 1969. The Department does not have the resources to carry out a detailed manual search of records prior to 1969.

The computer records show the Department of Aviation or its predecessors was the aircraft operator in 8 accidents in the years 1969 to 1986.

Details are as follows:

15 April 1970

Swearingen SA-26A, VH-CAH

Parafield, South Australia

Non-commercial, DoT Survey flight

Nose-wheel tyre deflated on landing roll and nose landing gear leg collapsed

Nil injuries, substantial damage

11 October 1974

Cessna 182J, VH-MJH

Warragul, Victoria

Non-commercial, aerial-work flight

Pilot attempted go-around when unable to stop on an unsuitable strip. Aircraft became airborne at low speed, control was lost and the aircraft struck the ground.

Serious injuries to one, substantial damage

4 December 1975

Beech 95-B55 VH-AJM

Brisbane, Queensland

Flying training, dual instruction flight

On the landing roll, main landing-gear tyre deflated and right-hand leg collapsed.

Nil injuries, substantial damage

21 January 1976

Swearingen SA 26-AT VH-CAJ

Goondiwindi, Queensland

Flying training, dual instruction flight

Student pilot inadvertently moved landing gear selector out of down detent on take-off run.

Nil injuries, substantial damage

11 June 1979

Beech 36, VH-CAQ

Latrobe Valley, Victoria

Non-commercial, DoT survey flight

Engine failure on cruise, approach to runway at Latrobe Valley was misjudged, aircraft landed across the runway, wheels up.

Nil injuries, substantial damage

15 April 1980

Beech 58, VH-SBS

Oakey, Queensland

Non-commercial, continuation-training flight

Pilot inadvertently selected gear up instead of flaps, on the landing roll.

Nil injuries, substantial damage

5 September 1983

Gulfstream 695A, VH-LTJ

Launceston, Tasmania

Non-commercial DoT survey

Nose landing gear malfunction on landing roll. Cause undetermined.

Nil injuries, substantial damage.

20 November 1986

Grumman G159-B, VH-LTM

Mangalore, Victoria

Flying training, dual instructional flight

Crew failed to extend landing gear prior to landing

Nil injuries, substantial damage.

In five of these accidents pilot factors were present:

11 October 1974, 21 January 1976, 11 June 1979, 15 April 1980, 20 November 1986

In 2 accidents landing gear tyres were factors:

15 April 1970, 4 December 1975

One accident involved weather factors (11 October 1974), one had a runway factor (21 January 1976), one had an aircraft design factor (15 April 1980) and in one accident the factors involved could not be determined (5 September 1983).

With regard to incidents involving aircraft operated by the Department, the Bureau computer data-base is not compiled in a manner which facilitates reliable extraction of operator identity. The Department does not have the resources to identify all incidents where the Department was the operator. However, information in respect of incidents involving Departmental aircraft is contained in the computer printout entitled `Department of Aviation Aircraft Incidents 1969-1986' held in the Bills and Papers Office.

(2) The accident rate for departmentally operated aircraft 1969 to 1986 is 4.75 accidents per 100 000 hours.

The accident rate for Australian regular public transport operations 1969 to 1986 (activity data is not yet available for 1985 or 1986) is 0.6 accidents per 100 000 hours. The comparison between departmental operations and regular, multi-crew, scheduled airline operations is inappropriate. Departmental flying activity is more closely related to General Aviation operations where the accident rate (1969-1984) is 16.6 accidents per 100 000 hours.