Aviation safety investigations & reports

Mode awareness issue - VH-­NXN, near Ayers Rock Aerodrome NT, 14 July 2009

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 2.47MB]

On 14 July 2009, at about 0948 Central Standard Time, the flight crew of a Boeing 717-200 aircraft, registered VH-NXN, were conducting a
visual approach to runway 13 at Ayers Rock, Northern Territory. While carrying out a practise circling approach, the pilot in command observed what he believed to be abnormal engine response.

While the flight crew addressed the apparent engine problem, the aircraft's airspeed reduced below the normal manoeuvring speed on two occasions. However, the aircraft landed without further incident and a subsequent analysis of recorded data indicated that safe control of the aircraft was maintained throughout.

In response to this incident, the operator issued a Notice to Pilots regarding autothrottle mode awareness and made a number of changes to the Boeing 717 operations manuals.

Those changes described a number of restrictions on the automation modes used during critical stages of flight that the operator believed were appropriate to prevent automation 'surprises'.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 2.47MB]
General details
Date: 14 July 2009   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0948 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Ayers Rock Aerodrome    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Incorrect configuration  
Release date: 14 October 2010   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 717  
Aircraft registration VH-NXN  
Serial number 55095  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Unknown  
Destination Ayers Rock, NT  
Last update 14 November 2018