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On the night of 3 May 2007, a Raytheon Aircraft Company 390, registered N7088S, was enroute to Townsville Airport, Qld on the final leg of a private instrument flight rules (IFR) flight from Avalon, Vic via Sydney, NSW and Brisbane, Qld. The aircraft carried four passengers and a pilot. At about 0049 EST on 4 May, the pilot landed the aircraft on runway 01 while it was closed due to works in progress. There was no damage to the aircraft or injuries to personnel.

On 29 April 2007, a notice to airmen (NOTAM) had been issued which required that pilots requiring the use of runway 01 provide 30 minutes prior notice to the works safety officer (WSO) on duty at the airport. The pilot of N7088S later reported that although he had reviewed the list of NOTAMs for the airport prior to the flight, he did not recall noting the runway closure and did not notify the WSO of his planned arrival. The WSO had been notified of the planned arrival of another aircraft and had selected the runway lighting ON in anticipation of its arrival. At the time of the occurrence, the instrument landing system approach aid for runway 01 was available and the airport's pilot activated lighting and airfield frequency response unit were unavailable.

For a period of several minutes while on approach and final, the pilot was not contactable by radio on either the Brisbane Centre frequency or the Townsville common traffic advisory frequency. During this time the duty supervisor at Brisbane Centre notified the WSO of the approaching aircraft. Workers on the runway noticed the approaching aircraft and vacated the runway before the aircraft landed.

The investigation identified several safety factors that contributed to the occurrence, including pre-flight planning, radio selection and operation, ground works management, and air traffic control. The airport operator, the pilot, and Airservices Australia initiated a number of safety actions in response to some of the issues identified.

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General details
Date: 04 May 2007 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0049 EST  
Location   (show map):Townsville Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Depart/app/land wrong runway 
Release date: 17 June 2008 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Raytheon Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 390 
Aircraft registration: N7088S 
Serial number: RB-188 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Brisbane, Qld
Destination:Townsville, Qld
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Last update 14 November 2018