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At 1550 VH-RUH, enroute Broken Hill to Moorabbin, reported overhead Natya at 7,000 ft. At 1552 VH-LJR, enroute White Cliffs to Essendon, reported overhead Natya, also at 7,000 ft. The Flight Service (FS) 14 operator was expecting LJR to be at its planned level of 5,000 ft. Neither aircraft was aware of the other and traffic information was immediately passed. Investigation revealed that the pilot of LJR requested traffic for a climb to 7000 ft 16 minutes after departure from White Cliffs. That request was to the FS15 operator. Nine minutes after that request the pilot of LJR reported maintaining 7,000 ft. Departure co-ordination from FS15 to FS14 was done manually because the operators were too busy on their frequencies to do it by intercom.

The investigation was unable to determine whether the level change was co-ordinated as part of the departure co-ordination. The pilot of LJR called FS14 at 1510 (42 minutes before he reported over Natya) and reported maintaining 7,000 ft and an amended estimate for Natya. The FS14 operator did not realise that LJR was no longer at its planned level and the FS14 flight strip still indicated 5,000 ft. When the aircraft later reported at Natya, there was a different operator working the FS14 position. He immediately noticed the aircraft was not at its planned level of 5,000 ft which was still annotated on the flight strip. Both FS15 and FS14 were very busy at the time. FS15 was dual manned and in addition to normal traffic was handling a difficult distress phase which extended over a protracted period.

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General details
Date: 09 September 1996 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 15:52 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Breakdown of co-ordination 
Release date: 21 October 1996 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Partenavia Costruzioni Aeronautiche S.p.A 
Aircraft model: P.68B 
Aircraft registration: VH-LJR 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:White Cliffs NSW
Destination:Essendon Vic
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-31-350 
Aircraft registration: VH-RUH 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Broken Hill NSW
Destination:Moorabbin Vic
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Last update 28 October 2014