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On 31 January 2010, an American Aircraft Corporation Grumman Traveller AA-5 aircraft, registered VH-ERP, was being operated on a visual flight rules private flight from Temora, New South Wales to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. At about 1630 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, on late final approach to runway 12 at Canberra Aerodrome, and at an altitude of about 150 ft above ground level, the aircraft experienced severe turbulence that resulted in a brief loss of control. The pilot recovered control and landed on runway 12.

The investigation determined that it was probable that the severe turbulence was generated by a combination of the wind conditions on the day and the position of the two buildings located about 220 m and 290 m upwind from runway 12. In addition, there were no standard criteria for assessing the potential local wind effect of aerodrome building developments on aviation operations, and no national building codes for aerodrome developments that address the phenomena of building-induced turbulence.

The aerodrome operator had commissioned pre-construction wind impact assessments of the two buildings to the north of runway 12. These reports concluded that the buildings would not result in adverse wind effects on aircraft operations. This conclusion was based in part on the assessment that use of runway 12 was unlikely in northerly wind conditions. However, operations to that runway remained possible in those conditions without any alert to affected pilots about possible risk. By contrast the Canberra Aerodrome information in the En Route Supplement Australia alerted pilots of the possibility of severe turbulence during touchdown on runway 35 in strong westerly winds.

Subsequent to this occurrence, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government established the National Airports Safety Advisory Group (NASAG). NASAG's role is to examine airport planning issues, including the potential local wind effects of buildings on aircraft operations, and to develop a set of universal guidelines and policy material for application at state and local levels. In addition, Airservices Australia is progressing the installation of wind shear detection technologies at several aerodromes. There is the potential that one of those installations could be at Canberra Aerodrome.

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Safety issues

AO-2010-008-SI-01 - AO-2010-008-SI-02 - AO-2010-008-SI-03 -  

Buildings dimensions and location

Two buildings were constructed north of the runway 12 threshold at a height and position that could generate turbulence affecting the approach, threshold and touchdown areas of the runway under some wind conditions.

Safety issue details
Issue number:AO-2010-008-SI-01
Who it affects:The Canberra Airport operator and all flight operations to runway 12, at Canberra Airport


 

Wind Modelling Criteria

There were no criteria for assessing the potential wind impact of aerodrome building developments on aircraft operations.

Safety issue details
Issue number:AO-2010-008-SI-02
Who it affects:All airport operators
Status:Adequately addressed


 

Airport Wind Modelling during building development

The limited consideration of the potential wind impact of the two buildings to the north of runway 12 during northerly wind conditions has resulted in continued operations to that runway in those conditions without any alert to affected pilots about the associated risk.

Safety issue details
Issue number:AO-2010-008-SI-03
Who it affects:The Canberra Airport operator and all flight operations to runway 12, at Canberra Airport
Status:Partially addressed

 
General details
Date: 31 January 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1630 ESuT Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Location   (show map):Canberra Aerodrome Occurrence type:Turbulence/windshear/microburst 
State: Australian Capital Territory Occurrence class: Environment 
Release date: 05 April 2011 Occurrence category: Incident 
Report status: Final Highest injury level: None 
 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: American Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: AA-5 
Aircraft registration: VH-ERP 
Serial number: AA5-0691 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Temora, NSW
Destination:Canberra, ACT
 
 
 
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Last update 13 May 2014