Aviation safety investigations & reports

Boeing Co 737-76N Beech Aircraft Corp Baron

Investigation number:
200404178
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

The report presented was prepared principally from the information supplied to the Bureau.

Reported Information

On 21 October 2004, at about 1150 Central Standard Time, a Boeing Company 737-76N aircraft (737) registered VH-VBN was tracking to Alice Springs Airport on the 122 radial of the VHF omnidirectional radio range (VOR) navigation aid on descent to 9,000 ft. The crew reported that at about 35 NM from the airport, they received a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) traffic advisory (TA) alert. Shortly after, the crew received a TCAS resolution advisory (RA) to reduce the aircraft's rate of descent. After changing to the Alice Springs aerodrome controller's (ADC) frequency, the crew was provided with traffic information on a Beech Aircraft Corporation 58 Baron aircraft (Baron), that was in the vicinity of the 737 at 9,500 ft and tracking in the opposite direction.

The ADC provided an air traffic service in the Class D control zone and the Class E control area steps surrounding the Alice Springs Airport, from ground level to 8,500 ft, within an area encompassed by a circle with a radius of 36 NM centred on Alice Springs Airport. Controllers were required, in Class D airspace, to separate instrument flight rules (IFR) flights from other IFR flights and to provide traffic information to pilots of IFR flights about any visual flight rules (VFR) flights. A similar level of service was required within Class E airspace for IFR flights with the exception that pilots of IFR flights would be provided with traffic information on VFR flights as far as practicable. The 737 was an IFR category flight and the Baron was a VFR category flight.

The ADC had flight details on both aircraft and it would have been prudent to provide traffic information to the crew of the 737 in sufficient time to enable them to assess the likelihood of a conflict in either class of airspace. At the time of the occurrence the ADC was busy with coordination tasks and managing other aircraft.

On 25 November 2004, as a result of National Airspace System (NAS) changes, the Class E airspace around Alice Springs was changed to Class C. In Class C airspace controllers are required to separate IFR flights from other IFR and VFR flights. Consequently, in future similar circumstances the ADC will be required to separate the aircraft.

General details
Date: 21 October 2004   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1150 CST    
Location   (show map): 65 km SE Alice Springs, Aero.    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: ACAS warning  
Release date: 31 October 2005   Occurrence class: Airspace  
Report status: Final   Occurrence category: Incident  
  Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Aircraft registration VH-VBN  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney NSW  
Departure time 0927 CST  
Destination Alice Springs NT  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 58  
Aircraft registration VH-XSY  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Alice Springs NT  
Departure time 1143 CST  
Destination Unknown  
Last update 13 May 2014