The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with its ADF equivalent, the Defence Flight Safety Bureau (DFSB), which strengthens their ties in the aim of improving aviation safety.

The MoU builds on the strong relationship the ATSB has with the DFSB, which has seconded accident investigators to the national transport safety investigation agency on a number of occasions, by providing a framework to support cooperation.

The MoU confirms that the DFSB and the ATSB operate in line with the principles enshrined in Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation − known as the Chicago Convention: that is that the sole object of the investigation of an aircraft accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents.

The convention also underscores that the purpose of investigations is not to apportion blame or provide a means of determining liability.

We recognise the limited and dispersed national resources available for transport safety investigation should a major accident occur, and the need to mutually provide a national transport safety investigation capability.

Director DFSB Group Captain Dennis Tan signed the MoU with ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood.

Group Captain Tan said: “We recognise the limited and dispersed national resources available for transport safety investigation should a major accident occur, and the need to mutually provide a national transport safety investigation capability.”

“It’s always been easy for Mr Hood and I to pick up the phone and talk because we’re on the best of terms, but the renewed formal recognition of the relationship between our organisations is equally important,” he said.

“It is significant that the DFSB and ATSB are parties to this agreement because it acknowledges that we perform equivalent and complementary functions for aviation safety in Australia.”

Mr Hood said he was pleased to join the director of the DFSB in co-signing the document.

“This will encourage mutual assistance and the sharing of expertise, training opportunities, experience and equipment in transport safety investigations,” he said.

“In January, I saw first-hand the close working relationship between the ATSB and DFSB when a RAAF air safety investigator with C-130 aircraft expertise was embedded into the ATSB’s on-site investigation team for the C-130 air tanker accident north of Cooma, NSW.

“This demonstrated to me that we can best maximise aviation safety outcomes by working together wherever possible."