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New technology to prevent air crashes

CASA Media Release - 16 July 1999


Australia's aviation industry is set to become even safer with the introduction of new measures to prevent aircraft crashes caused by controlled flight into terrain.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is bringing in special legislation requiring ground proximity warning systems to be installed in most commercial passenger aeroplanes.

Air operators are being offered the choice of installing current ground proximity warning systems by October this year or advanced technology equipment by the start of 2001.

Operators who choose to wait and fit aeroplanes with the new technology 'enhanced' ground proximity warning systems will be required to upgrade flight crew training from October this year.

Ground proximity warning systems use a combination of radar and aircraft monitoring systems to tell pilots when their aircraft is at risk of colliding with the ground.

New technology systems match positioning information with a terrain database to give pilots an even earlier warning of a potential collision with the ground.

CASA's Director of Aviation Safety, Mick Toller, says the new legislation offers passengers and flight crew higher protection from one of the major causes of fatal air crashes.

Mr Toller says CASA has introduced flexibility into the rules to allow operators to take advantage of the latest developments in technology in ground proximity warning systems.

"Controlled flight into terrain is still a major cause of aviation fatalities around the world," Mr Toller says.

"CASA strongly supports the International Civil Aviation Organisation program to prevent these types of accidents.
"In Australia, and elsewhere in the world, this is being addressed through a combination of technology and training.
"Existing ground proximity warning systems give pilots an audio and visual warning that a collision with the ground may occur if corrective action isn't taken.

"The latest technology ground proximity warning systems fitted with predictive terrain hazard warning functions offer much more.

"These have visual screen displays to give pilots an earlier and clearer warning of potential ground collision risks.
"At the same time we will be requiring additional awareness training on controlled flight into terrain for flight crew who operate aircraft that are waiting for new technology equipment to be fitted."

The new legislation on ground proximity warning systems will apply to regular public transport and charter aircraft that are turbine powered and carry ten or more passengers or have a maximum take-off weight of more than 15,000 kilograms.

Operators will be required to fit a current system by 1 October this year or a new technology system by 1 January 2001.

Where operators choose an advanced system, they must introduce a controlled flight into terrain awareness training program for flight crews by 1 October this year.

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