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Summary

Summary

Whilst taxiing via taxiway K2 for a night departure from runway 11C, a Piper Archer collided with a preceding Trinidad. Both aircraft were substantially damaged in the accident but neither occupant was injured. The pilot of the Archer reported that he had arrived at the aerodrome after dark, noticed there was no wind, and assumed that the preferred direction for operations would be from runway 29C. The control tower was not manned. After starting, he made a taxiing broadcast then proceeded to the run-up area for runway 29C. Whilst there he observed other aircraft operating from runway 11C so, in order to conform with the circuit direction in use, he commenced to taxi to the other end of the runway via taxiway K. He did not see any other aircraft on or entering the taxiway. The pilot subsequently noticed that his taxiing speed had increased so he closed the throttle and momentarily applied the brakes. However, he then saw the dark bulk of an aircraft immediately ahead of him and applied heavy braking, but instead of moving the mixture to the idle cut-off position to stop the engine, he mistakenly applied full power. Realising he could not stop, he steered the aircraft to the left but the right wing collided heavily with the tail of the Trinidad. Both pilots shut their respective aircraft down and vacated without injury. The Trinidad was fitted with wing and tail navigation lights which all operated normally after the accident. The aircraft was also equipped with a white flashing strobe light on the top of the rudder, in lieu of a red rotating beacon, in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Aviation Regulations. However, Aeronautical Information Circular H12/95 recommends that, to avoid possible impairment of night vision, white strobe lights should be turned on when entering active runways, and turned off when clear of the active runway after flight. The only light visible to the pilot of the Archer from the Trinidad was the steady white tail navigation light, which would have blended with the background lighting of the surrounding houses and street lights, and was not seen by the pilot of the Archer. As the Trinidad was not entering an active runway, the white strobe light was not operating, although the navigation lights were turned on. Notwithstanding the actions by the pilot of the Archer, had the Trinidad been required to display an anti-collision light it may have provided a more timely warning for collision avoidance. SAFETY ACTION As a result of this occurrence, the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation is investigating a safety deficiency. The deficiency identified relates to the requirements for anti-collision lights on aircraft. Any safety output issued as a result of this analysis will be published in the Bureau's Quarterly Safety Deficiency report.
 
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