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A Piper Chieftain (PA31) departed Bankstown on a flight to Moorabbin in accordance with the Instrument Flight Rules. The Sydney Departures controller issued the pilot with radar vectors to intercept the Sydney-Cordo track, together with an instruction to climb to and maintain 5,000 ft. At about that time a Boeing 747 (B747) was approaching Sydney from the west, in instrument meteorological conditions, following a RIVET Standard Terminal Arrival Route. The crew had been issued with a clearance to descend to and maintain 6,000 ft. The flight paths of the two aircraft were to cross each other at approximately right angles, some 8 NM to the south-west of Sydney. The crew of the B747 subsequently advised the Sydney Approach controller that they had received a Traffic Collision and Avoidance System Resolution Advisory (TCAS RA). The RA instruction to climb the aircraft had been followed by the crew and the aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 6,300 ft before returning to the assigned level. At that time the controller observed the radar return of the PA31 descending through 5,300 ft and queried the pilot as to his present level. The pilot replied that he was returning to 5,000 ft. Neither crew sighted the other aircraft. Analysis of recorded radar data revealed there had been a breakdown in separation between the two aircraft. The minimum vertical separation between the B747 and the PA31 was 600 ft whilst the lateral separation was 1.7 NM. The required separation standards were 1,000 ft vertically or 3 NM laterally. The PA31 reached a maximum altitude of about 5,400 ft. The pilot of the PA31 later reported he had been distracted at the time his aircraft was approaching 5,000 ft and had subsequently climbed through his assigned level.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 16KB]
General details
Date: 03 May 1997 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 15:57 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Loss of separation 
Release date: 03 June 1997 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-31-325 
Aircraft registration: VH-OYO 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Bankstown NSW
Destination:Moorabin Vic
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: The Boeing Company 
Aircraft model: 747 
Aircraft registration: 9VSFC 
Sector: Other 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Singapore
Destination:Sydney NSW
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Last update 28 October 2014