Aviation safety investigations & reports

Breakdown of Separation, Brisbane Airport, Qld – 31 August 2005

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 31 August 2005, the crew of a Fairchild Industries Inc SA227–DC (Metro) aircraft had been issued a clearance for a visual approach to runway 14 at Brisbane Airport. At about the same time, the crew of a Boeing Company 717–200 (717) aircraft had been issued a take-off clearance from runway 01. The crew of the Metro commenced a go-around from runway 14 at about the same time the 717 became airborne from runway 01. The 717 crossed about 625 m in front of, and 580 ft above, the Metro. There was a breakdown of separation.

The Metro’s descent to Brisbane had been restricted by another aircraft, which placed it above the normal descent profile. The crew of the Metro subsequently continued an approach that was unlikely to be conducted successfully. The aerodrome controller misjudged the position of the Metro, which resulted in the incorrect application of separation standards. This also meant that the controller did not give adequate consideration to the likelihood of a go-around by the crew of the Metro.

After the Metro crew commenced the go-around, the controller was unable to visually separate the aircraft. The controller had not provided traffic information to the crew of either aircraft, nor was he required to do so. The controller attempted to make the Metro crew aware of the 717, but did not provide the information in the form of a safety alert as required by the Manual of Air Traffic Services.

Without prior knowledge of the 717, the crew of the Metro found it difficult to identify the correct aircraft, as the 717 was initially below their level and masked by background lighting.

As a result of previous occurrences, the ATSB had previously issued a safety recommendation to Airservices Australia in October 2006 in relation to the provision of relevant traffic information, to enhance pilot situational awareness.

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[Download  PDF: 401KB]
General details
Date: 31 August 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 19:02    
Location   (show map): Brisbane Aerodrome    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 31 January 2007   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 717  
Aircraft registration VH-VQD  
Serial number 55062  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Brisbane, QLD  
Departure time 19:02  
Destination Avalon, Vic  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227  
Aircraft registration VH-UUA  
Serial number DC-824B  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Oakey, QLD  
Departure time 18:43  
Destination Brisbane, QLD  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command ATPL
Co-Pilot/1st Officer ATPL 400 600
Last update 16 February 2016