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Appendix Q: Glossary


An investigable matter involving a transport vehicle occurs when:

  • a person dies, or suffers serious injury, as a result of an occurrence associated with the operation of the vehicle
  • the vehicle is destroyed, or seriously damaged, as a result of an occurrence associated with the operation of the vehicle
  • any property is destroyed, or seriously damaged, as a result of an occurrence associated with the operation of the vehicle.

Accident Investigation Commission (AIC)

The Papua New Guinea Government institution responsible for the investigation of safety deficiencies in aviation transport.

Aerial work

Aircraft operations—including ambulance and emergency medical services, agriculture, mustering, search and rescue, fire control, surveying and photography.

Agricultural operations

Operations involving the carriage and/or spreading of chemicals, seed, fertiliser or other substances for agricultural purposes—including the purposes of pest and disease control.

Airworthiness directive

A notification to owners and operators of certified aircraft that a known safety deficiency with a particular model of aircraft, engine, avionics or other system exists and must be corrected. if a certified aircraft has outstanding airworthiness directives that have not been complied with, the aircraft is not considered airworthy.

Amateur-built aircraft

Aircraft not built in a factory but for the user’s personal use or recreation. May include ultra-light, original design, plans built, kit built or experimental aircraft.


Australian Maritime Safety Authority.


Australian Rail Track Corporation.

ATSB safety action

Formal activities conducted by the ATSB to initiate safety action by relevant organisations to address a safety issue. Includes safety recommendations and safety advisory notices.

Australian Accredited Representative

An Australian representative who is appointed in the case of safety occurrences involving Australian-registered aircraft outside Australian territory, normally an ATSB investigator.


Autonomous underwater vehicle.

Blood-borne pathogen

A blood-borne agent causing disease that can be spread by blood contamination.


Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Catastrophic accident

A sudden disastrous investigable matter involving a transport vehicle.


Operations that involve the carriage of cargo or passengers, but do not involve scheduled flights. The lack of scheduled flights, and fixed departure and arrival points, distinguishes charter operations from regular public transport operations.


The collective pitch control, or collective lever, in a helicopter changes the pitch angle of all the main rotor blades at the same time, independent of their position. Therefore, if a collective input is made, all the blades change equally. The result is that the helicopter increases or decreases its total lift derived from the rotor.

Commercial air transport

High-capacity regular public transport (RPT) flights, low-capacity RPT flights, charter flights and medical transport.

Complex investigations

Investigations rated at level 1, level 2 or level 3 in accordance with the ATSB’s rating system.

Contributing safety factor

A safety factor that, if it had not occurred or existed at the relevant time, then:

  • the occurrence would probably not have occurred
  • adverse consequences associated with the occurrence would probably not have occurred or have been as serious
  • another contributing safety factor would probably not have occurred or existed.


Council of Australian Governments.

Critical safety issue

Associated with an intolerable level of risk and generally leading to the immediate issue of a safety recommendation, unless corrective safety action has already been taken.

CVR (black box)

Cockpit voice recorder.


Domestic Commercial Vessel as defined by the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012.

Defined Interstate Rail Network (DIRN)

The DIRN is comprised of over 10,000 route kilometres of standard gauge interstate track linking the capital cities of mainland Australia.

Directly Involved Party (DIP)

Those individuals or organisations that were directly involved in a transport safety occurrence or may have influenced the circumstances that led to an occurrence. This also includes those whose reputations are likely to be affected following the release of the investigation report.


Extended twin operations—a rule that allows twin-engine airliners to fly long‑distance routes that were previously off-limits to twin-engine aircraft. There are different levels of ETOPS certification. Each one allows aircraft to fly on routes that have a certain amount of flying time from the nearest suitable airport.

Fatal accident

A transport accident in which at least one fatality results within 30 days of the accident.

Fatality/Fatal injury

Any injury acquired by a person involved in a transport accident which results in death within 30 days of the accident.

Flight data recorder (black box)

A recorder placed in an aircraft for the purpose of facilitating the investigation of an aircraft accident or incident.

Flying training

Flying under instruction for the issue or renewal of a licence, rating, aircraft type endorsement or any other type of flying aimed at upgrading an individual’s flight qualification—including solo navigation exercises conducted as part of a course of applied flying training, or check and training operations conducted by RPT operators.

Genera aviation (GA)

General aviation covers:

  • aerial work operations (including aerial agriculture, aerial mustering, search and rescue, and aerial survey)
  • flying training
  • private aviation
  • business and sports (including gliding) aviation—VH, or foreign-registered.

Hours flown

Calculated from the time the wheels start, with the intention of flight, to the time the wheels stop after completion of the flight.

Human factors

Human factors is the multi-disciplinary science that applies knowledge about the capabilities and limitations of human performance to all aspects of the design operation and maintenance of products and systems. It considers the effect of physical, psychological and environmental factors on human performance in different task environments—including the role of human operators incomplex systems.


International Civil Aviation Organization.

Immediately reportable matter

A serious transport safety matter that covers occurrences such as:

  • accidents involving death
  • serious injury
  • destruction or serious damage of vehicles or property
  • when an accident nearly occurs.


International Maritime Organization.


An occurrence, other than an accident, associated with the operation of transport vehicle that affects, or could affect, the safety of the operation


The Australian Government’s Indonesia Transport Safety Assistance Package


Joint Agency Coordination Centre.

Less complex investigations

Those rated at level 4 or level 5 under the ATSB's rating scheme.


Loss of separation assurance.


Light sport aircraft.


Marine Accident Investigators Forum in Asia.

Minor injury

An injury sustained by a person, in an accident, that was not fatal or serious and does not require hospitalisation.


Across the three modes of transport covered by the ATSB: aviation, marine and rail.

National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC)

An Indonesian Government institution responsible for the investigation of safety deficiencies in aviation, maritime and land transport.

Occurrences-accidents an incidents

Occurrences are reportable matters—either an immediately reportable matter (IRM) or a routine reportable matter (RRM). They comprise accidents, serious incidents and incidents.


Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

Other aerial work

Other aerial work includes:

  • operations conducted for the purposes of serial work other than 'flying training' and 'agricultural operations'
  • operations classified as other aerial work—including aerial surveying an photography, spotting, aerial stock mustering, search and rescue, ambulance, towing (including glider, target and banner towing), advertising, cloud seeding, firefighting, parachute dropping and coastal surveillance.

Other safety issue

Associated with a risk level regarded as unacceptable unless it is kept as low as reasonably practicable. Where there is a reasonable expectation that safety action could be taken in response to reduce risk, the ATSB will issue a safety recommendation to the appropriate agency when proactive safety action is not forthcoming.


Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.


Post-impact fire.


Use of licensed coastal pilots to guide ships through designated areas.

Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)

These statements explain the provisions of the appropriation bills (budget bills); that is, where the appropriate funds are going to be spent.


Private flying is conducted for recreational or personal transport without revenue. Business flying refers to the use of aircraft as a means of transport to support a business or profession.


Recreational Aviation Australia.

Recreational aviation

Aircraft being used for recreational flying that are registered by a recreational aviation administration organisation.


Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic Service. A coastal vessel traffic service which has been put in place by the Australian and Queensland Governments to improve safety and efficiency of vessel traffic, as well as to protect the environment.

Regular public transport (RPT)

Refers to aircraft that transport passengers and/or cargo according to fixed schedules and fixed departure/arrival points, in exchange for monetary reward. These services can be further divided into low- and high-capacity aircraft:

  • low-capacity RPT—an RPT aircraft that provides a maximum of 38 passenger seats, or a maximum payload no greater than 4,200 kilograms
  • high-capacity RPT—an RPT aircraft that provides more than 38 passenger seats, or a maximum payload greater than 4,200 kilograms.


The aviation confidential reporting scheme.


The marine confidential reporting scheme.

Reportable safety concern

Any matter that endangers or could endanger a transport vehicle.

Safety action

The things that organisations and individuals do in response to the identification of safety issues, in order to prevent accidents and incidents. There are two main types:

  • ATSB safety action
  • non-ATSB safety action.

Safety advisory notice

Formal advice by the ATSB to an organisation, or relevant parts of the aviation industry, that it should consider the safety issue and take action where it believes it is appropriate. A safety advisory notice is a ‘softer’ output than a safety recommendation and is used for less significant safety issues—when the available evidence is more limited or when the target audience is not a specific organisation.

Safety factor

An event or condition that increases safety risk—something that increases the likelihood of an occurrence and/or the severity of the adverse consequences associated with an occurrence.

Safety issues

A safety factor which can reasonably be regarded as having the potential to adversely affect the safety of future operations and:

  • is a characteristic of an organisation or a system, rather than a characteristic of a specific individual, or
  • is characteristic of an operational environment at a specific point in time.

Safety recommendation

ATSB safety recommendations are formal recommendations from the ATSB to an organisation for it to address a specific safety issue. They focus on stating the problem (i.e. the description of the safety issue). They do not identify specific solutions for reducing risk.


Search and rescue.


Satellite communication.

Serious incident

An incident involving circumstances indicating an accident nearly occurred.

Serious injury

An injury which is sustained by a person in an accident and involves one or more of the following:

  • requires hospitalisation for more than 48 hours, commencing within seven days from the date the injury was received
  • results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes or nose)
  • involves lacerations which cause severe haemorrhage, nerve, muscle or tendon damage
  • involves injury to any internal organ
  • involves second or third degree burns, or any burns affecting more than five per cent of the body surface
  • involves verified exposure to infectious substances or injurious radiation.

Short investigation

Short, factual, office-based investigations of less complex safety occurrences rated at level 5 under the ATSB’s rating scheme.


Safety investigation information management system.


Safety of life at sea.


Signal passed at danger.

Spectral analysis

Detailed analysis of the pilot’s radio transmissions, background engine sounds and warnings.

Sports aviation

Aircraft excluded from the RPT, GA or military aircraft categories—including ultralights, gliders, hang gliders, rotorcraft and balloon aviation. Most, if not all sport aviation craft are registered with various sporting bodies rather than with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), although exceptions to this rule occur. Sports aviation also includes parachute operations and acrobatics. Sports aviation in this report does not include Australian nonVH registered aircraft.


Standard arrival route.

Statutory agency

A body or group of persons declared by an Act to be a statutory agency for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999.

Systemic failure

A breakdown in the system as a whole.

Transport safety matter

As defined by the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003, these matters consist of occurrences in which:

  • the transport vehicle is destroyed
  • the transport vehicle is damaged
  • the transport vehicle is abandoned, disabled, stranded or missing in operation
  • a person dies as a result of an occurrence associated with the operation of the transport vehicle
  • a person is injured or incapacitated as a result of an occurrence associated with the operation of the transport vehicle
  • any property is damaged as a result of an occurrence associated with the operation of the transport vehicle
  • the transport vehicle is involved in a near accident
  • the transport vehicle is involved in an occurrence that affected, or could have affected, the safety of the operation of the transport vehicle
  • something occurred that affected, is affecting, or might affect transport safety.


Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.


Underwater locator beacon.