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Safety Action

Summary

Following this occurrence and a previous mid-air collision between a Piper Archer and a Piper Tomahawk at Hoxton Park on 6 June 1998, the Bureau issued the following interim recommendations on 8 June 1999:

"IR19990077

The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority increase the number of mandatory radio broadcasts at non-controlled aerodromes to include a set of critical location broadcasts for those locations where the risk of collision is increased.

IR19990078

The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority extend the proposed radio requirements as outlined in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM9702RP) to include both licensed aerodromes and any unlicensed aerodrome into which fare-paying passenger services operate.

IR19990079

The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority amend current procedures/airspace for aircraft operating into and departing from Hoxton Park in order to reduce the potential for further aircraft collisions".

IR19990077

On 13 September 1999, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority responded to IR 19990077 as follows:

"CASA agrees that additional mandatory broadcasts at non-controlled aerodromes should facilitate alerted see-and-avoid between aircraft operating in the vicinity of an aerodrome. CASA will therefore take action to mandate the following additional broadcasts at MBZ and CTAF aerodromes:

upon entering the runway for takeoff; and

upon joining the circuit."

ATSB classified the CASA response as CLOSED-ACCEPTED.

On 19 November 1999, the Bureau responded to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority as follows:

"CASA's commitment to increase the number of mandatory broadcasts at CTAF and MBZ areodromes is supported. The Bureau will monitor the implementation of this recommendation. As such, could you please advise the Bureau of the proposed date that this safety initiative is likely to be implemented ?"

CASA amended the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) Australia. The amendments effective on 2 December 1999, in section AIP ENR 1.1, included new paragraphs 60.1 and 60.3.

Para 60.1 read as follows:

When approaching an aerodrome and before crossing the MBZ or CTAF area boundary, all aircraft must broadcast the following details on the MBZ frequency and, similarly, all radio-equipped aircraft must broadcast on the CTAF:

  1. callsign and aircraft type;
  2. position (reported as distance with either the radial, bearing, or quadrant from the aerodrome);
  3. level; and
  4. intentions

Para 60.3 read as follows

All aircraft operating into an aerodrome within an MBZ, and all radio-equipped aircraft operating into an aerodrome within a CTAF area, must broadcast on the MBZ frequency or CTAF when joining the circuit.

IR19990078
On 14 July 1999, Airservices Australia responded as follows:

"Airservices does not wish to comment on this recommendation except to agree with the remarks referring to the potential for frequency congestion at non-controlled aerodromes should this recommendation become mandatory."

On 13 September 1999, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority responded as follows:

"Since fare-paying passengers may travel at any time to any destination with a suitable landing area, CASA considers that compliance with such a requirement by non-radio equipped aircraft would be at best difficult, and would not impose it without a clearly identified safety issue and justification.

"At the same time, the intended CASA action detailed in the response to IR19990077 will go a long way towards satisfying the intent of this interim recommendation."

ATSB classified the CASA response as CLOSED-PARTIALLY ACCEPTED.

On 19 November 1999, the Bureau responded to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority as follows:

"The Bureau agrees that the implementation of IR19990077 will go a long way toward meeting the intent of IR19990078. In addition, your reference to the difficulty of complying with such a requirement by non-radio equipped aircraft in those cases where passenger-carrying services do not operate in accordance with fixed schedules, is also supported.

"However, a number of operators do conduct scheduled flights into unlicensed aerodromes. In such cases, additional protection for the passengers who commute on those services may be provided by other means. Additional information would assist the pilots of both radio and non-radio equipped aircraft to make decisions about their intended activities that would reduce the risk of collision with passenger-carrying flights."

IR19990079

On 14 July 1999, Airservices Australia responded as follows:

"Airservices agrees that the preferred situation would see aircraft operating in the vicinity of Hoxton Park equipped with two radios and with the suggestion that more appropriate position reports in the circuit area would assist in situational awareness.

"We are also aware of anecdotal evidence that pilots interpret the requirements for radio calls in the MBZ differently which itself can cause confusion and loss of situational awareness."

On 13 September 1999, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority responded as follows:

"Special procedures to facilitate the safety of operations are already in place at Hoxton Park. Given the constraints imposed by the geographical proximity of other aerodromes to Hoxton Park, and also in the light of the volume and nature of aircraft operations at these locations, CASA would welcome more detailed information from BASI as to how it considers current procedures and airspace arrangements could be amended to reduce the potential for further aircraft collisions."

ATSB classified the CASA response as OPEN.

On 19 November 1999, the Bureau responded to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority as follows:

"The implementation of IR19990077 would, again, go some way in addressing the concerns raised on IR19990079. The Bureau understands the present airspace constraints imposed on Hoxton Park; however, Hoxton Park's unique problems should be taken into consideration in any future proposals for airspace changes in that area. In relation to the procedural aspects, the Bureau believes that there may be solutions that would reduce the risk of aircraft collisions in the Hoxton Park area. The following suggestions are offered, without prejudice, for your consideration:
"1. Pilots departing the Bankstown CTR boundary whose aircraft are not equipped with dual radios, should switch immediately onto the Hoxton Park frequency rather than delaying that action until 3 NM from the CTR boundary, as currently advised in the ERSA; "2. A defined airspace corridor with designated altitudes for those flights operating directly between Bankstown and Hoxton Park;
"3. Approach points for arrivals of flights from locations other than Bankstown, be designated for Hoxton Park; and
"4. Circuit entry procedures as currently outlined in the ERSA, be more comprehensively defined.
"Therefore, the Bureau requests that IR19990079 be reconsidered and that CASA provide advice on the outcome of any further consideration at your earliest convenience."

Conspicuity trials

Approximately two months after the accident, the then Bureau of Air Safety Investigation conducted a series of trials on the conspicuity to a pilot on final approach of a light-coloured light aircraft on the "piano keys" of runway 34 at Hoxton Park. The trial was conducted in very similar weather conditions, and during the same time of day, as the accident.

A brief description of the trials and their results were published in Issue 23 of "Asia-Pacific Air Safety", September 1999. In short, the Bureau found that under some conditions of light and contrast, combined with an expectancy that a runway would be clear, a pilot of an aircraft on final approach may fail to perceive an aircraft on the piano keys at the threshold of the runway.

 
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