Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper Aircraft Corp PA-28-140 , VH-CNM, 3 September 1999

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


The crew of a SAAB, conducting a scheduled passenger service from Griffith to Sydney, broadcast that they were taxiing to depart from runway 06. The pilot of a Cherokee advised that he was on downwind for runway 36. The crew acknowledged this transmission and then established the position and intentions of the pilot of a Dromader who was on an extended downwind leg for a low-level approach to runway 06. The crew of the SAAB then advised that they were entering and backtracking on runway 06. Approximately 90 seconds later, when the crew advised they were rolling on runway 06, the pilot of the Cherokee responded that he was on late finals to runway 36. The crew continued their takeoff and overflew the landing Cherokee by a reported 400 feet.

Each aircraft was in radio communication on the Griffith common traffic advisory frequency of 126.7 MHz.

The crew of the SAAB later reported that they had not heard the pilot of the Cherokee respond to their taxiing broadcast. Their attention had been directed toward the pilot of the Dromader who had adjusted his approach to assist their departure. They had not seen the Cherokee and consequently it was not until the pilot reported on late finals to runway 36 that they realised there was a traffic conflict. The crew reported that at this time the SAAB had accelerated to a speed such that rejecting the takeoff was potentially more hazardous than continuing.

The higher terrain to the south of the aerodrome may have made the Cherokee more difficult to detect against the background. Additionally, a line of trees to the south of runway 06 obscured the final approach path to runway 36 from the view of pilots at the 06 threshold.

The reason why the crew of the SAAB did not recall hearing the response of the Cherokee pilot to their taxiing report was not determined. However, it is likely that the decision to expedite their departure ahead of the arriving Dromader created a self-imposed high workload that led to a loss of awareness of the Cherokee.

General details
Date: 03 September 1999   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1545 hours EST    
Location   (show map): Griffith, Aero.    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 28 February 2000   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28  
Aircraft registration VH-CNM  
Serial number 28-7725045  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Griffith, NSW  
Destination Griffith, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer S.A.A.B. Aircraft Co  
Aircraft model 340  
Aircraft registration VH-CMH  
Serial number 327  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Griffith, NSW  
Destination Unknown  
Last update 13 May 2014