Aviation safety investigations & reports

Breakdown of separation, 22 km south-west of Sydney Airport, NSW, 4 April 2007, VH-VON, Boeing Company 737-8FE, B-HLW, Airbus A330-300

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 4 April 2007 at about 0809 Eastern Standard Time a Boeing Aircraft Company 737-8FE registered VH-VON was inbound to Sydney, NSW from Melbourne, Vic. on descent to 6,000 ft and an Airbus A330-342X, registered B-HLW was departing Sydney for Hong Kong on climb to 7,000 ft. The distance between the aircraft reduced to 1.9 NM horizontal and 600 ft vertical separation. Separation standards as specified in the Manual of Air Traffic Services (MATS) required the provision of either 3 NM horizontal or 1,000 ft vertical separation between the aircraft. There was a breakdown of separation.

The loss of separation occurred as a result of the separation that was planned by the air traffic control officer being based on an incorrect cleared flight level (CFL) that had been entered into the controller's air situation display (ASD). The investigation concluded that this data entry error occurred within 2 minutes of the air traffic controller assuming responsibility for the control position, and that the reconfiguration of the in-use console by the controller during that time increased the risk of the controller being distracted from the traffic separation task.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 183KB]
General details
Date: 04 April 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0805 EST    
Location   (show map): 12 NM southwest Sydney    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 18 December 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Aircraft registration VH-VON  
Serial number 33795  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Melbourne, Vic  
Destination Sydney, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A330  
Aircraft registration B-HLW  
Serial number 565  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Hong Kong  
Last update 18 April 2018