Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper Aircraft Corp PA-28R-201, VH-PRF

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


A British Aerospace 146 (BAe 146) was arriving at Alice Springs from the north-east and was instructed by air traffic control to make a visual approach to runway 12 via a left circuit.

A Piper Cherokee Arrow (Arrow) was also arriving at Alice Springs on a flight from Coober Pedy and was instructed to track via visual flight rule route "VFR Route 6". That route tracked via the Stuart Highway, south-west of the aerodrome. As the aircraft passed Mount Polhill (20 NM from the aerodrome) the pilot was cleared to track via the gaol and to then make a visual approach to runway 06.

When the BAe 146 was on final approach the crew sighted the Arrow approximately 1 NM ahead and descending through their level. They commenced a go-around and manoeuvred to the right to ensure that they passed behind that aircraft.

The pilot of the Arrow had misinterpreted some of the controller's instructions and had tracked for a circuit because he was not set up for a straight-in approach. However, in carrying out that action he had not informed the controller of his change of plan and his inability to carry out the instructions received.

Although the controller was looking for the Arrow in order to provide a visual service, he did not see the aircraft because the pilot had been tracking in a direction that the controller was not expecting.

General details
Date: 17 July 2000   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1106 hours CST    
Location   (show map): 12 km SSW Alice Springs, Aero.    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 16 October 2001   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-PRF  
Serial number 28R-7837078  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Cooper Pedy, SA  
Destination Alice Springs, NT  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer British Aerospace PLC  
Aircraft model BAe 146  
Aircraft registration VH-JJX  
Serial number E2127  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Cairns, QLD  
Destination Alice Springs, NT  
Last update 13 May 2014