On 12 October 2010, a Piper Aircraft Corporation PA-31-350 aircraft, registered VH-TAS (TAS), departed Griffith, New South Wales on scheduled freight service to Narrandera.
When about 37 km from Narrandera, the pilot broadcast an inbound call on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). Shortly after, the pilot heard a broadcast from the pilot of a Cessna Aircraft Company 441 aircraft, registered VH-XBC (XBC), advising that he was taxiing for runway 32. The pilot of TAS attempted to contact the pilot of XBC a number of times, but received no reply.
When established on final for runway 14, the pilot observed the landing lights of XBC taking off on the reciprocal runway, runway 32. The pilot of TAS initiated a right turn. The pilot of XBC observed TAS turning and elected to continue straight ahead. The aircraft passed at about 500 ft above ground level (AGL), with an estimated horizontal distance between 1-2 km.
Subsequent communications between the two pilots identified that the pilot of XBC did not hear any broadcasts made by the pilot of TAS until after the incident occurred.
A recent research report published by the ATSB identified that the most prevalent type of accident or incident occurring at non-towered aerodromes involved conflicts between aircraft, or between aircraft and ground vehicles. Despite this, operations at these aerodromes are generally safe. However, pilots should ensure that they maintain awareness of their surroundings and of other aircraft, fly in compliance with procedures, and be observant, courteous and cooperative at all times.