Aviation safety investigations & reports

Boeing Co 767-336, VH-ZXC

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Sequence of events

On 1 November 2004, a Boeing Company B767-336 (767) aircraft, registered VH-ZXC, was cleared for departure via the Sydney RWY 34R MARUB THREE standard instrument departure (SID) with a clearance limit of 5,000 ft. A military Lockheed Georgia Company C-130J (C130) aircraft was inbound to Richmond, NSW, from Nadi, Fiji, and had been cleared to descend to 6,000 ft and was tracking overhead Sydney for Richmond. As the aircraft approached each other about 5 NM east of Sydney, an infringement of the separation standard occurred.

The copilot of the 767 was the handling pilot for the sector and was manually flying the aircraft while tracking via the SID. After takeoff, and when passing 1,500 ft, the copilot called for climb thrust to be set, and for the vertical navigation mode to be selected on the Mode Control Panel (MCP) of the aircraft's Autopilot Flight Director System. The pilot in command said that he selected climb thrust on the MCP, but did not recall seeing climb thrust annunciated. The copilot then called for the lateral navigation mode to be selected on the MCP and at 3,000 ft the aircraft began to reduce the rate of climb.

Passing through 4,000 ft, with the flaps fully retracted, the copilot noticed that climb thrust was not annunciated and advised the pilot in command that the Command Airspeed Bug was not in the correct position. The pilot in command reached over and reselected climb thrust and noted correct climb thrust annunciation. As the aircraft was passing through 4,600 ft and climbing at about 3,500 ft/min, the copilot engaged the autopilot. The pilot in command told the copilot to "nose it over" but the aircraft climbed to 5,350 ft before descending back to the assigned level of 5,000 ft.

The 767's traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) activated a resolution advisory (RA) for the crew to "monitor vertical speed". The pilot in command of the 767 saw the C130 during the period of the TCAS activation.

The crew of the C130 were alerted to the proximity of the 767 by the aircraft's TCAS display, when it was at 4 NM in the 10 o'clock position indicating 700 ft below their level of 6,000 ft. They then saw the 767 and their TCAS activated a RA advising them to climb, which they acted upon. At 6,400 ft, the TCAS RA instructed the crew of the C130 to maintain altitude. After the 767 was observed to pass below the C130, the crew said that they notified air traffic control of the infringement of separation standards. The air traffic controller then advised the crew to descend back to 6,000 ft because the aircraft were no longer in conflict.

Recorded radar data indicated that lateral separation between the aircraft reduced to 2.6 NM with a vertical separation of 600 ft. The required radar separation standard was 3 NM laterally or 1,000 ft vertically.

General details
Date: 01 November 2004   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1749 hours ESuT    
Location   (show map): 9 km ENE Sydney, Aero.    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 09 September 2005   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 767  
Aircraft registration VH-ZXC  
Serial number 24339  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Departure time 1745 hours ESuT  
Destination Melbourne, VIC  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model C-130  
Aircraft registration A97J  
Type of operation Military  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Nadi, Fiji  
Departure time 1300 hours ESuT  
Destination Richmond, NSW  
Last update 13 May 2014