Jump to Content



There were three aircraft in the approach sequence to land on runway 19 at Brisbane: a British Aerospace 146 (BAe 146), VH-JJS, on final at 2 NM; a British Aerospace Jetstream 3200 (Jetstream), VH-XFC, on right base at 6.5 NM with approximately 8 track-miles to touchdown; and a Fairchild SA226 Metroliner (Metroliner), VH-TFQ, on an oblique left base at 6.5 NM with approximately 10.5 track-miles to touchdown. Analysis of recorded voice data confirmed that the approach controller advised the crew of the Metroliner that they were number 3 in the sequence and that the Jetstream was number 2. Subsequent to that advice, the controller advised the Metroliner crew that the aircraft they were to follow was at 11 o'clock, 10 NM at 1600 ft. They were instructed to report when they could see that aircraft. The crew responded "Traffic sighted". The crew of the Metroliner was then assigned responsibility for separation from the Jetstream by being cleared to manoeuvre as required to make a visual approach and to "follow the Jetstream". In the same transmission, the crew were cautioned about the BAe 146 "on a very short final runway 19" and instructed to contact the tower.

When the crew transferred to the tower frequency, the aerodrome controller realised that the Metroliner was following the wrong aircraft, the BAe 146, and could be in conflict with the Jetstream. The controller instructed the Metroliner crew to orbit their aircraft on left base to increase its separation with the Jetstream. Analysis of recorded radar data indicated that separation between the Metroliner and the Jetstream had reduced to 1.2 NM when they were at the same level.

The crew of the Metroliner did not recall being cautioned about the 146. The aircraft they had sighted and followed was not the Jetstream but the BAe 146, which resulted in the breakdown of separation.

The Manual of Air Traffic Services (MATS) stated in MATS 4-5-1, paragraph 7:

"Correct identification of the aircraft from which separation must be maintained is essential".

Paragraph 10 stated:

"The traffic information provided shall contain as much as is necessary of the following to assist the pilot in identifying the other aircraft:
  1. type, and description if unfamiliar;
  2. level;
  3. position information either by clock reference, bearing and distance, relation to a geographical point, reported position and estimate, or position in circuit;
  4. intentions, or direction in flight."

Analysis of the radar data indicated that at the time the crew was asked to report sighting the aircraft, the BAe 146 was in the Metroliner's 11 o'clock relative position at 6.8 NM and displayed an oblique, side profile. The position of the Jetstream was more to the Metroliner's 12 o'clock relative position, at 9.8 NM and displayed a head-on profile.

Share this page Comment