Aviation safety investigations & reports

Runway incursion - Essendon Airport, VIC, 10 December 2007, VH-WDA, Cessna Aircraft Company 172N, VH-BTD, Piper Aircraft Corporation PA31

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 10 December 2007 at about 2143 Eastern Daylight-saving Time a Cessna Aircraft Company 172N (C172) registered VH-WDA entered runway 17 at Essendon Airport, Vic. without an air traffic control clearance. At that time, a Piper Aircraft Corporation PA31, registered VH-BTD, was on final approach and had been cleared to land on runway 17. The pilot queried the landing clearance with the tower controller, who observed the C172's unauthorised entry onto the runway, or runway incursion, and sent the PA31 around in order to maintain separation between the two aircraft.

The pilot of the C172 was appropriately licensed, rated and current for the conduct of the private night visual flight rules (VFR) scenic flight and had notified the tower controller from the runway 17 run-up bays that he was 'ready'. In response, the controller instructed the pilot to 'taxi forward and hold short of runway 17'. That instruction was correctly read back by the pilot. Shortly after, the aircraft crossed the holding point and entered runway 17.

The C172 pilot had 311 hours total experience with 20 hours experience under the night VFR. The pilot was completing commercial pilot training and had been operating regularly at Essendon Airport over the previous 2 months. Most of those operations were reported to have been on runways 17 and 35. The pilot advised that the airport markings, signage and lighting were more than adequate for the planned flight.

The C172 pilot could not explain or rationalise why he had entered the runway when he had acknowledged the instruction to hold short of the runway. The investigation did not identify any operational factors that may have contributed to the development of the runway incursion.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 153KB]
General details
Date: 10 December 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2143 ESuT   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Essendon Aerodrome    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 09 April 2008   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-WDA  
Serial number 17268911  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Essendon Vic.  
Destination Essendon Vic.  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-31  
Aircraft registration VH-BTD  
Serial number 31-7912041  
Type of operation Unknown  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Destination Essendon Vic.  
Last update 03 April 2020