Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aircraft separation - de Havilland Canada DHC-8-202, VH-SDA, & Beech Aircraft 58, VH-VFG, Port Macquarie NSW, 25 November 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 25 November 2010, a De Havilland Canada DHC-8-202 aircraft, registered VH-SDA (SDA), was taxied to runway 03 at Port Macquarie, New South Wales for a scheduled passenger service to Sydney.

After lining up on runway 03, the pilot in command (PIC) of SDA observed a traffic return on the aircraft's traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) indicating that an aircraft was behind them, about 400 ft above and descending. As a precaution, the takeoff was expedited.

At the same time, a Beech Aircraft Corporation 58 aircraft, registered VH-VFG (VFG), was on final approach to runway 03. After observing SDA commence the take-off, the crew initiated a go-around and positioned the aircraft to the right of the runway centre line to maintain separation with SDA.

At about 600 ft, the crew of SDA noted that the TCAS was indicating that VFG was about 100 ft above and climbing. The PIC of SDA discontinued the aircraft's climb and turned left onto a westerly heading.

Both crews attempted to contact each other on the Port Macquarie common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), but received no response. The crews eventually established communications on the Brisbane Centre frequency.

Following the incident, the copilot of SDA reported that he may have mistuned the CTAF prior to taxiing. A subsequent engineering inspection by the operator determined that the aircraft's radio transceiver was faulty.

The operator of SDA has advised the ATSB, that as a result of this incident, a safety alert was issued to pilots emphasising the radio requirements for when operating on the CTAF. In addition, the operator also intends to conduct a review of their CTAF operating procedures.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 2.6MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 5.49MB]
General details
Date: 25 November 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1527   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Port Macquarie    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 16 May 2011   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer de Havilland Canada  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-SDA  
Serial number 482  
Operator Sydney, NSW  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Port Macquarie, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 58  
Aircraft registration VH-VFG  
Serial number TH-415  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Bankstown, NSW  
Destination Port Macquarie, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018