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F-ODGX planned Melbourne to Sydney via Strathbogie, designated route W32, Cullerin, Bindook and Oakdale to Sydney. Due to limitations, the computer aided strip printing system (CASPS) did not recognise waypoint Oakdale in the flight plan as valid, and consequently could not print the strips. An airways data system officer (ADSO) in the Melbourne area approach control centre (AACC) amended the plan which was then re-run with errors and omissions such as speed, flight level and route. As a consequence, the Melbourne sector 2 and 7 enroute flight progress strips then incorrectly indicated that the flight was tracking via Strathbogie, W32, waypoint Cullerin to Sydney. Coincidently, the Sydney AACC advised non receipt of plan details on F-ODGX. The flight plan forwarded was the incorrect amended version. F-ODGX's airways clearance was to track via Strathbogie to Sydney. On departure, the clearance was amended to track direct to Cullerin. The amended clearance was accepted by the pilot because it was on the flight planned route. At 130 NM from Melbourne, the aircraft was given a Rivet 1 arrival by Melbourne Sector 2. The pilot's readback of the clearance was unintelligible. At 160 NM from Sydney the aircraft was given an instruction to enter the holding pattern at 70 NM Sydney, with the requirement to reach flight level (FL) 210 by 70 NM from Sydney. This holding pattern is published on the Standard Instrument Arrival (STAR) plates and is located on the 230 radial, 70 NM from Sydney. On the route which the pilot followed, from Cullerin to Bindook, there is no published holding pattern at 70 NM Sydney. The pilot did not query the holding instruction reference the direction of the turn or the inbound radials. Due to Sydney arrival sector also working from incorrect flight progress strip information, the flight planning error was not detected until the arrivals radar controller observed the aircraft making a left turn towards Bindook instead of a right turn towards Rivet. At the time of this incident, another aircraft was tracking from Wagga Wagga to Bindook at FL210. Had the arrivals controller not observed and adjusted the incorrect turn by F-ODGX, a loss of separation standards may have occurred. The incorrect routing of F-ODGX would have been rectified at the clearance delivery stage if the correct flight plan had been presented to the controllers handling the flight. Significant Factors 1. The CASPS waypoint data was not compatible with the current air route structure. 2. The ADSO incorrectly amended the original flight plan. 3. The Melbourne sector controller did not obtain a valid readback of the STAR clearance. 4. The pilot did not query the inconsistent holding instruction. Safety Actions The Civil Aviation Authority Air Traffic Services has initiated new procedures regarding the method and circumstances in which filed flight plans may be re-run through the CASPS equipment.
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General details
Date: 23 August 1994 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 14:57 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: ANSP info/procedural error 
Release date: 12 September 1994 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 737 
Aircraft registration: F-ODGX 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Melbourne VIC
Destination:Sydney NSW
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Last update 21 October 2014