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The ATSB has released recommendations to CASA relating to fitment of aircraft autopilot equipment and crew instrument approach qualifications as part of the investigation into the Lockhart River fatal accident on 7 May 2005.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that the Metroliner aircraft that crashed near Lockhart River on 7 May 2005 was not fitted with an autopilot and the copilot was not qualified to conduct the instrument approach the crew were conducting. Addressing both is seen by the ATSB as desirable to improve future safety.

The aircraft was being operated on a scheduled passenger service from Bamaga to Cairns with an intermediate stop in Lockhart River. It crashed killing the two pilots and 13 passengers as the crew were attempting to carry out the instrument approach to runway 12 at Lockhart River. The ATSB issued an interim factual report on 16 December 2005 and is still investigating the accident.

ATSB recommendations have been issued to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to review current legislation and regulations:

  • to seek to ensure that in an aircraft requiring a flight crew of two, both crewmembers are appropriately qualified to carry out an instrument approach; and
  • to provide a mechanism for the phased introduction of autopilot equipment to all aircraft on the Australian civil aircraft register engaged on scheduled air transport operations.

The ATSB will consider further recommendations in the course of its investigation including with respect to the operation and testing of cockpit voice recorders.

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Last update 01 April 2011

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