Aviation safety investigations & reports

Breakdown of separation, 157 km east of Darwin, NT, 19 April 2007, VH-AZJ, Piper Aircraft Corporation PA-31 and VH-TFF, Cessna Aircraft Company C210N

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 19 April 2007, the Darwin radar (DNR) airspace was being operated as a non-radar procedural sector due to the removal of the Australian Defence Air Traffic System (ADATS) radar data from the civil Australian Advanced Air Traffic System (TAAATS). That change in arrangements was necessary because of ongoing technical problems with the integration of the ADF data into the civil radar system.

At about 0909 Central Standard Time, the DNR controller identified that an instrument flight rules (IFR) Cessna Aircraft Company C210N, tracking from Darwin to Gove, NT at an altitude of 9,000 ft, was in conflict with an IFR Piper Aircraft Corporation PA31-350 that was tracking from Bathurst Island to Jabiru and that a breakdown of separation standards had occurred. The controller re-established the required separation.

The investigation identified that the safety management system employed by Airservices Australia did not require the conduct of an independent review of the locally-conducted hazard assessment process that was utilised to manage the controller's loss of radar surveillance capabilities. This was considered to be a safety issue.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 660KB]
General details
Date: 19 April 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0912 CST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 157km East of Darwin Aero.    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 25 June 2009   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-31  
Aircraft registration VH-AZJ  
Serial number 31-8152152  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Bathurst Island, NT  
Destination Jabiru, NT  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210  
Aircraft registration VH-TFF  
Serial number 21064277  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Darwin, NT  
Destination Gove, NT  
Last update 03 April 2020