Aviation safety investigations & reports

Beech Aircraft Corp 58, VH-FDN

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau did not conduct an on-scene investigation of this occurrence. The report presented below was prepared principally from information supplied to the Bureau and includes information from an investigation report produced by Airservices Australia.


On 1 December 2004, at 1403 western standard time, a Beech Aircraft Corporation Baron was tracking from Jandakot, WA for Cunderdin, WA. The aircraft was being operated under the instrument flight rules (IFR) at 7,000 ft. At 1409, a Cessna Aircraft Company Caravan, operating under the visual flight rules (VFR), was climbing to 14,000 ft for a parachute jumping exercise (PJE) within 5 NM of Brooklands, WA. Both aircraft were operating within radar coverage and were radar identified.

The airspace in the Brooklands area was classified as class G (non-controlled) airspace from ground level to 8,500 ft, and class C (controlled) airspace from 8,500 ft to 18,000 ft.

At 1419, the controller managing the class G airspace provided the pilot of the Baron with traffic information on the Caravan as part of a radar information service (RIS). The pilot of the Baron became concerned that the pilot of the Caravan was unaware of the Barons proximity to the parachute drop area, and was unable to establish radio contact with the pilot of the Caravan to determine whether the parachute drop was imminent.

At 1420, the pilot of the Caravan requested a clearance to deploy the parachutists, and to descend. The controller who was managing the class C airspace provided the pilot of the Caravan with a clearance and radar derived traffic information on the location of the Baron. At that time, the Baron was 2 NM ahead of the Caravan and heading north-east.

At 1421, the pilot of the Baron established radio contact with the pilot of the Caravan and negotiated a delay in the parachute drop until the Baron was clear of the area.

The Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) ENR 5.5 4 paragraphs 2.1.3 to 2.3.4, effective 25 Nov 2004, specified that not less than two minutes before parachutists exit an aircraft, the pilot must make a broadcast on all relevant frequencies for the airspace through which the parachutists may descend, including a broadcast on each frequency specified for controlled and uncontrolled airspace. The pilot must not allow parachutists to exit the aircraft unless these broadcasts have been made.

In addition to the requirements specified in the AIP, a letter of agreement (LOA), effective 25 Nov 2004, existed between Airservices Australia and the PJE operator, which detailed the radio frequencies and procedures for PJE operations in that area. This LOA required the pilot to broadcast, on the class G frequency, an intention to deploy the parachutists, approximately 4 minutes prior to the drop point.

The Manual of Air Traffic Services (MATS) section 4.6.1, specified that Air Traffic Control (ATC) shall not issue a clearance to a pilot to deploy parachutists before the broadcasts specified in the AIP have been made.

The pilot of the Caravan later stated that all required broadcasts had been completed. However, transcripts provided by Airservices Australia of the ATC voice recordings of the relevant frequencies contained no evidence that the pilot had made the required broadcasts on either of the class G or class C frequencies, in accordance with either the AIP or the LOA, prior to the intended parachute deployment.

The controller managing the class C airspace did not ensure that those broadcasts had been made, prior to issuing the pilot of the Caravan with a clearance to deploy the parachutists.

Safety Action

The report produced by Airservices Australia recommended that the office of the Head Air Traffic Controller review the MATS in regard to the feasibility of how ATC shall ensure that appropriate broadcasts have been made on frequencies not monitored by that ATC sector.

The report also recommended that the intent of the letter of agreement (LOA) with the operator be clarified and that they be reminded that the LOA does not absolve them from complying with the requirements of AIP ENR 5.5.

Airservices Australia reported that the office of the Head Air Traffic Controller will be assuring that these recommendations are actioned.

General details
Date: 01 December 2004   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1415 hours WST    
Location   (show map): 74 km E Perth, Aero.    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 22 June 2005   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 58  
Aircraft registration VH-FDN  
Serial number TH-126  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Jandakot, WA  
Departure time 1401 hours WST  
Destination Jandakot, WA  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 208  
Aircraft registration VH-OAI  
Serial number 20800093  
Type of operation Sports Aviation  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Brooklands, WA  
Departure time 1355 hours WST  
Destination Brooklands, WA  
Last update 13 May 2014