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On 6 October 2010, at about 1200 Eastern Daylight Time[1], a Beech Aircraft Corp 76 (Duchess), registered VH-RUA, was conducting an area navigation global navigation satellite system (RNAV (GNSS)) approach to runway 24 at Ballina/Byron Gateway aerodrome, New South Wales (NSW). While flying the approach, the Duchess came into close proximity with a Cessna Aircraft Company 182L (C182), registered VH-UCW, which was conducting circuits on runway 24.

The lateral separation between the aircraft was estimated at 50 m; with the Duchess behind, and 50 ft below the C182 with a closing speed estimated at 40 kts. The instructor in the Duchess performed an evasive manoeuvre to avoid a potential collision with the C182.

The pilots from both aircraft reported making the required radio transmissions and monitoring the appropriate common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), however they were not aware of each others' presence until the incident occurred. After the incident, the pilots in the C182 determined that their radio was neither transmitting nor receiving.

Flights conducted at non-towered aerodromes are not provided with a traffic separation service from air traffic control. Consequently, maintaining separation is the pilot's responsibility.

To maintain separation, it is imperative that pilots utilise alerted and unalerted see-and-avoid principals to enhance situational awareness. The effective use of aerodrome frequency response units (AFRU) and anti collision lighting can contribute to pilot's situational awareness at non-towered aerodromes.

[1] The 24-hour clock is used in this report to describe the local time of day, Eastern Daylight Time, as particular events occurred. Eastern Daylight Time was Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) +11 hours.

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[ Download PDF: 3.37MB]
General details
Date: 06 October 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1200 ESuT  
Location   (show map):near Ballina/Byron Gateway Aerodrome Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Near collision 
Release date: 28 January 2011 Occurrence class: Airspace 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: 76 
Aircraft registration: VH-RUA 
Serial number: ME-16 
Type of operation: Flying Training 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: C182 
Aircraft registration: VH-UCW 
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Last update 18 April 2018