Aviation safety investigations & reports

Breakdown of separation - SAAB 340, VH-SBA and Beechcraft B58, VH-VFG,near Taree Airport, NSW, 1 December 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 1 December 2010, at 1412 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, a breakdown of separation occurred between a Beech Aircraft Corporation Barron BE58 (BE58), registered VH-VFG, and a SAAB Aircraft Company S340B (S340), registered VH-SBA, near Taree Airport, New South Wales (NSW).

The BE58 was a private flight from Bankstown to Port Macquarie, NSW and the S340 was a scheduled passenger service from Taree to Sydney, NSW. On departure, the S340 was issued a clearance by air traffic control (ATC), with an altitude requirement intended to establish the S340 above the BE58 on a crossing track. When ATC reassessed the proximity of the aircraft and determined that the altitude requirement would not ensure separation, they issued the BE58 with a vectoring instruction.

The separation between the two aircraft reduced to below the required standards. Separation was re-established when the S340 reached 10,000 ft on climb.

This incident highlights the importance for air traffic controllers to continually monitor and reassess their separation plans and implement changes to assure that the required separation standards will be established and maintained. Furthermore, the provision of timely and appropriate traffic information to flight crew, by air traffic control, can significantly enhance pilots' situational awareness.

Airservices Australia (Airservices) has advised that they are conducting a systemic review of a number of Breakdown of Separation occurrences, with outcomes from that review to be considered in terms of further safety improvement. As a short term safety intervention, Airservices will be conducting an awareness program for Air Traffic Controllers following the publication of this report.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 2.6MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 5.49MB]
General details
Date: 01 December 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1412 EDT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Taree Aerodrome, west 19 Km    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 16 May 2011   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 58  
Aircraft registration VH-VFG  
Serial number TH-415  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Bankstown, NSW  
Destination Port Macquarie, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer S.A.A.B. Aircraft Co  
Aircraft model 340  
Aircraft registration VH-SBA  
Serial number 340B-311  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Taree, NSW  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018