Saturday, January 12, 2013

New FOI result - Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Hi all,


Following my recent Freedom of Information Act request to Air Services Australia, (click here to read the results) I submitted a separate request to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB.)

Who is the ATSB?

According to their website, "The Australian Transport safety Bureau (ATSB) is Australia's prime agency for the independent investigation of civil aviation accidents, incidents and safety deficiencies. The ATSB is governed by a commission and is entirely separate from transport policy makers, industry operators, and from transport regulators such as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA.)"

FOI Act request:

I asked for:

"1. Any documents held by the ATSB, on the subject of "unidentified flying objects" (UFO), including a search of the ATSB's OASIS aviation occurrence database, or other similar databases."
2."A copy of all papers dated 1 January 1983, on an  Air Accident Investigation file, file reference V116/783/1047 titled "DSJ-Cape Otway to King Island 21 October 1978-aircraft missing."


I have already posted the details of documents I received as per request 2 (the Valentich disappearance) (click here to read my post on these.) This post will therefore report on the documents received as per part 1 of my request above.

I received copies of the following "Occurrence detail reports." Each report was a two sided proforma filled in with very little information, as follows:

1. 2 Jul 1969: 196901691.

"Burn marks rep on 2 golf courses reported as poss UFO landing. RAAF notified." Sydney, NSW.

2. 31 Jan 1969: 196902473

At 21:25 hrs at Diamond creek, Vic.
"A (deletions made under section 22 of the FOI Act) of Rosanna rep sighting a UFO white in colour moving very fast in a straight line."

3. 12 Jan 1975: 197502943.

At 9:09hrs at Albury, NSW 15W. "UFO sighted on radar at 20000ft in CTA - Not possible to identify."

4. 16 Apr 1977:  197703195.

At 22:45hrs near King Island, TAS. A Cessna 401 pilot on a charter flight from Melbourne to Hobart. "UFO report from pilot - passed to RAAF for study. CFT beacon abeam." Altitude 7500ft. At night (dark). Wind speed 6-10. VMC conditions.

5. 21 Oct 1978:   197802563.

At 19:12hrs near Cape Otway, Vic. VH-DSJ Cessna 182L. "Plt reported UFO then rough running eng. Tx ceased - Acft missing." Flying Moorabbin Vic to king Island Tas. VFR. 4500ft. Visibility 15km. Dusk.

The ATSB provided me with a copy of the Aircraft Accident  Investigation Summary report. Also a copy of an article by a Rolf Rebner titled "Valentich Plane Disappearance: a seismic solution."

6. 22 Sep 1979:  197905600.

At 7:05hrs near Banka Banka, NT. "Object in area. Search acft found burnt trees and white  ash but no object. (Sneaky Martians?) Misc - UFO consisting of white light trailing smoke sighted by three witness. F27 plt reported white."

7. 19 oct 1979:  197904657.

At 19:45hrs near Broken Hill, NSW. An F27 MK 200. Flight Broken Hill to Adelaide. "Acft, however no known acft in area. Misc- F27 crew sighted UFO whilst on climbout. Flashing white light similar to strobe on high flying." Night (dark). Wind speed 6-10.

8. 7 Apr 83: 198300234.

At 14:27hrs near Manly West, Qld. "No known acft or balloon activity in area. Inside radar coverage but no radar return. UFO reported silvery object size of Cessna without wings flying from east to west at 2000ft.

9. 8 Nov 1998: 199804923.

At 15:51hrs 28km NW Perth Aerodrome, WA. "The pilot reported an unidentified flying object, bright red/orange in colour 100ft below and travelling very fast as the aircraft passed 9,000ft. The object was approximately 2 meters across and the pilot believed that it may have been a model aircraft." 8900ft.

10. 25 Jan 2011:  ATSB telephone notification form.

23:29hrs Mackay, Qld. "Reported  seeing a bright orange light with a dark centre appearing from the horizon, turning 90 deg and took off into the distance at high velocity with no sound. The object was captured on the iphone. (2 photos and a movie.) I referred him to the UFO hotline."

Previous post:

In a post dated 18 Jun 2012 (click here to read) I provided the results of a 2004 FOI Act request to the federal Department of Transport and Regional Services. This request resulted in a response from Rob Graham, Director , Safety Investigations, and utilised the OASIS aviation occurrencee database of the ASTSB.

Comparing the 2004 and 2012 FOI Act requests reveals that of the occurrence detail reports mentioned in this current request, numbers 1-9 were also provided to me in 2004 (although with less details.) Only number 10 of the current request is new, perhaps due to its date of 2011.

It is also interesting to note that the 25 Jan 2011 report was referred to a UFO Hotline, presumably that run by AUFORN. A check of the 2011 reports on the AUFORN website database (click here to look at hundreds of their report) failed to locate any such report made to them. I contacted AUFORN directly and Rob Frola advised me he had never heard of this report.

In conclusion:

I have now completed my FOI Act requests to the two main Australian Government agencies which are likely to receive UAP reports from civilian airline pilots. As you can see they responded with limited data.

Prior to the closure of the RAAF's UFO investigations, there were dozens of pilot reports to the RAAF. The question therefore remains as to whether the number of UAP observations by pilots has declined in recent times, or whether pilots simply do not report sightings of unusual objects in the skies?

I'd appreciate hearing from any blog readers who are also pilots.

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