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Circumstances RAAF Williamtown were operating FA18 aircraft in Restricted Areas R457 and R527. In order to return these aircraft to Williamtown at the completion of their task, it was necessary to transit civil controlled airspace under the control of Sydney Sectors 1, 2 and Arrivals. Williamtown air traffic control [ATC] co-ordinated with Sydney Sector 1 for the recovery of two FA18 aircraft and Sector 1 issued approval and advised of civil aircraft with which Williamtown ATC needed to provide radar separation with their aircraft. Sector 1 also agreed to perform the co-ordination tasks with Sector 2 and Sydney Arrivals, which was correctly carried out. Williamtown ATC then proceeded to recover their aircraft in accordance with the clearance issued by Sector 1, but as the FA18s were approaching civil airspace, Sector 1 advised of additional traffic VH-TAH whose track and altitude placed the aircraft in potential conflict with Shogun 1/2 [FA18]. Sydney Sector 1 believed that he had only co-ordinated an expectancy of approval with Williamtown ATC but Williamtown believed that they had received a clearance to transit the airspace. As a result Williamtown ATC radar vectored its aircraft clear of VH-TAH and no breakdown in separation occurred. Significant Factors 1.The co-ordination procedures for this section of airspace were complex and time consuming which led to confusion as to if an actual clearance was issued.
Download Final Report
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General details
Date: 02 December 1992 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 15:55 ESuT  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Breakdown of co-ordination 
Release date: 28 July 1993 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas Corp. 
Aircraft model: F/A-18A 
Aircraft registration: UNKNOWN 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Williamtown NSW
Destination:Williamtown NSW
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 737-376 
Aircraft registration: VH-TAH 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Destination:Sydney NSW
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Last update 07 July 2015