Jump to Content



On 13 October 2005, at 0618 Eastern Standard Time, a Saab Aircraft AB 340B (Saab), registered VH-UYA, departing Townsville Airport, Queensland, came within the minimum separation standard of 1,000 ft vertically and of 3 NM horizontally of an inbound Cessna Aircraft Company 310R (Cessna), registered VH-TFP. There was an infringement of air traffic control separation standards.

The pilots of the Saab were instructed by air traffic control to depart Townsville on a heading of 350 degrees magnetic, to ensure a lateral separation standard existed between the Saab and the arriving Cessna. However, on departure the pilots of the Saab continued their left turn through the assigned heading, before turning their aircraft back to a heading of 350 degrees. The approach controller provided traffic information to the pilot of the Cessna and when the pilot reported that he had not sighted the Saab, the approach controller instructed him to make a left orbit. The Saab passed almost overhead the Cessna with about 500 ft vertical separation between them.

Despite a correct readback to the controller and recording the assigned heading on the take off and landing data card, the Saab copilot forgot about the heading instruction as he commenced the turn after takeoff. The pilot in command, as the pilot not flying, intended to monitor the conduct of the flight but was busy adjusting the power levers and did not immediately realise that the aircraft's heading had diverged from the assigned heading.

Following the occurrence the operator of the Saab issued two standing orders.

Share this page Comment