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Twenty-eight nautical miles (nm) west of Cairns the aircraft contacted Cairns Tower and was cleared down to 7600 feet. At 8 nm the aircraft was further cleared to 4400 feet and to carry out a VOR (Visual Omni Range) approach. Further communications with the aircraft alerted the Cairns Tower Controller to the fact that the aircraft was not carrying out the prescribed procedure. The controller then directed the aircraft so as to ensure clearance from terrain and other traffic. A visual approach and landing was then carried out without further difficulty. An investigation was initiated, following a report received six weeks after the event. Readout of the aircraft flight data recorder and the Tower communications recording established that the initial patterns flown were oriented North-South and similar to that required for a VOR approach at Coolangatta rather than the North East-South west configuration of the Cairns VOR pattern. Further enquiry revealed that the flight crew had anticipated carrying out a visual approach and did not become aware of the requirement for a VOR approach until a short time before the aircraft first arrived over the VOR. An incorrect Instrument Approach and Landing chart was then employed because the normal approach briefing and cross-check of charts was not carried out.

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General details
Date: 18 May 1985 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1700  
Location:Cairns Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Miscellaneous - Other 
Release date: 01 December 1986 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 727 
Aircraft registration: VH-TBO 
Type of operation: Air Transport High Capacity 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Mount Isa QLD
Departure time:1557
Destination:Cairns QLD
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