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On 25 February 2010, a Piper Aircraft Corp Chieftain PA-31-350 aircraft, registered VH-BCQ, was being operated on a charter passenger flight from Mackay to Clermont Aerodrome, Queensland. Unable to land at either Clermont or the planned alternate aerodrome of Mackay due to deteriorating weather conditions, the flight diverted to Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Aerodrome.

The pilot in command requested air traffic services (ATS) to arrange for a person to be on the ground at Proserpine/Whitsunday Aerodrome to ensure that the aerodrome lighting would be on for their arrival. This request was not actioned, but ATS provided the crew with a frequency for the pilot activated lighting system at the aerodrome. However, that frequency was decommissioned 10 days earlier, and a new frequency introduced.

On approach to Proserpine, the flight crew were unable to activate the aerodrome lighting. With critical fuel, and given weather considerations, the flight crew landed the aircraft without runway lighting at around 1957 Eastern Standard Time.

The investigation identified two minor safety issues; one relating to the practices used within the air traffic control group for the effective review and communication of notices to airmen, and the other the risk of out-of-date operational documentation.

The air navigation service provider advised that in response to this occurrence, it will conduct an internal education program to highlight the effect on safety when relevant information is not considered appropriately or reviewed before being provided to pilots.

The incorrect operational documentation has since been updated and the regional council managing Proserpine Aerodrome has instigated safety action relevant to their organisation.

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Safety issues

AO-2010-012-SI-01 - AO-2010-012-SI-02 -  

ATC Group Practices

Practices used within the ATS Group did not ensure that NOTAMs were effectively reviewed and communicated.

Safety issue details
Issue number:AO-2010-012-SI-01
Who it affects:All Airservices Australia air traffic controllers
Status:Adequately addressed


Out of hours Phone Numbers for Proserpine Airport

The Out of Hours telephone numbers for Proserpine Airport, listed in the Jeppesen Airways Manual, were incorrect.

Safety issue details
Issue number:AO-2010-012-SI-02
Who it affects:All operators using Proserpine Airport
Status:Adequately addressed

General details
Date: 25 February 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 2000 EST  
Location   (show map):Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Aerodrome Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: ANSP info/procedural error 
Release date: 30 November 2010 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-31 
Aircraft registration: VH-BCQ 
Serial number: 31-7952134 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Mackay Qld
Destination:Clermont Qld
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Last update 18 April 2018