Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of separation involving a Fokker B.V. F28 MK 3000, VH-EWF and Cessna Aircraft Company 210M, VH-WNK, 35km SW Canberra, ACT on 18 March 1993

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Circumstances Canberra approach/departures control was being operated on combine due to training requirements. The training officer had confidence in the trainee's ability to handle the situation as the traffic level was light and the trainee was in his final two weeks of training prior to a rating proficiency check. VH-WNK [Cessna 210] was maintaining 9,000ft on a flight from King Island to Bankstown and was established on the 210 radial of the Canberra VOR. VH-EWF [Fokker F28] departed Canberra for Melbourne at 0906 hours and was instructed to maintain 8,000ft due to an expected confliction with VH-WNK. When the trainee controller identified VH-EWF he expected that the aircraft would climb sufficiently quickly to be able to reach a level above VH-WNK before the radar separation standard of 5nm was infringed. On this basis he climbed VH-EWF to Flight Level 190 with a requirement to report leaving 10,000ft. As the distance between the two aircraft reduced, the training officer asked the trainee what action he intended to take. The trainee was considering his reply when the training officer instructed him to turn VH-EWF so that radar separation would be maintained. At that precise moment the trainee commenced a transmission to another aircraft on an unrelated matter and a few seconds delay occurred before a radar vector was issued to VH-EWF. The training officer elected not to use the override system as he judged that the time taken to activate the system would be similar to that taken by the trainee to complete the transmission. As the crew of VH-EWF were complying with the instruction the separation reduced to 3nm before the flight paths diverged. As vertical separation had not been established, a breakdown in separation occurred. Significant Factors 1. The trainee approach/departures controller misjudged the climb performance of VH-EWF. 2. The rated approach/departures controller allowed the situation to develop to the stage where there was insufficient time to guarantee that separation standards would be maintained. 3. The training officer's override facilities were not conducive to immediate correction of a trainee's error.
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[Download  PDF: 13KB]
General details
Date: 18 March 1993   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 9:10 EST    
State: Australian Capital Territory   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 21 July 1993   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final    

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210M  
Aircraft registration VH-WNK  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point King Island TAS  
Destination Bankstown NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Fokker B.V.  
Aircraft model F28 MK 3000  
Aircraft registration VH-EWF  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Canberra ACT  
Destination Melbourne VIC