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Summary

Summary

Prior to departure from Sydney, the crew received a Norfolk Island weather forecast that indicated conditions should be suitable for a night visual approach. Consequently, just before descent, the pilot in command reviewed the visual approach procedures. During the descent, the Norfolk Island unicom service advised that there were rain showers in the area. Subsequently, the crew conducted a night visual approach in weather conditions where the visibility had reduced to approximately 8,000 m in drizzle and isolated low cloud. Sufficient fuel existed for the crew to divert to Noumea if necessary.

During the latter stages of the approach, the co-pilot assessed the in-flight weather as unsuitable for a night visual approach and assumed that the pilot in command shared this view. As the approach was continued, the co-pilot attempted on a number of occasions to communicate his concern to the pilot in command. However, the pilot in command initiated no significant rectifying action and continued the approach. When the runway lighting was sighted at approximately 2NM on final the visual approach slope indicator system (VASIS) indicated a three-lights fly-up. After the aircraft was safely landed, the pilot in command and co-pilot discussed the conduct of the approach. The pilot in command was somewhat surprised at the level of the co-pilot's concern.

An amended Norfolk Island terminal area forecast (TAF) had been issued during the time of the aircraft's approach, indicating a deterioration in the weather. However, due to the time required to complete normal processing procedures involved in relaying the information to the crew, they did not receive this update.

The operator reported that some deficiencies existed in aspects of crew coordination, and the pilot in command's knowledge of night visual approach procedures. The operator indicated that those issues would be addressed. The pilot in command subsequently commenced a substantial program of training, to be followed by a check before returning to line operations.

The pilot in command and co-pilot had flown together frequently for the preceding two years, both at Norfolk Island and at a previous basing in Australia. Since commencing employment with this operator, neither the pilot in command nor the co-pilot had received crew resource management (CRM) training, despite that being an assessable item of crew line and currency checks. The operator considered the occurrence to be an isolated human performance event. The safety regulator had not promulgated specific guidance regarding crew resource management training to operators engaged in multi-crew air transport operations.

 
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