Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aircraft Separation - Airbus A320-232, VH-VNG & Pilatus PC-12/45, near Alice Springs Airport, 3 March 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 3 March 2011, a Tiger Airways operated Airbus Industrie A320-232, registered VH-VNG (VNG) and a Pilatus Aircraft Ltd PC-12/45, registered VH-FMP (FMP), were on approach to Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory. Both aircraft were operating under instrument flight rules (IFR).

The Alice Springs tower was closed, giving the pilots responsibility for organising their own separation. Both flight crews provided a number of updated estimates for their arrival into Alice Springs during the approach. The pilots of VNG estimated their position to be established on finals at time 11 (1941 CST) and FMP estimated their position established on the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the same time. The conflict between the estimates was not initially recognised by either crew.

As both aircraft approached the initial approach fix, the potential conflict was realised and separation was organised. During the separation manoeuvring, the pilot of FMP turned towards VNG and a Traffic Collision Avoidance System Resolution Advisory warning was activated. The pilots of VNG conducted a missed approach and FMP continued the turn behind VNG.

Tiger Airways have conducted a risk assessment on operating into non-towered aerodromes. As a result of that assessment, they have rescheduled all Alice Springs flights so that they operate within active tower hours. They have also made a policy decision that flights will not be scheduled into CTAF aerodromes outside of tower hours for all future schedule developments.

Download Final Report - Bulletin
[Download  PDF: 5.43MB]
General details
Date: 03 March 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1848 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Alice Springs Airport    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 12 December 2011   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A320  
Aircraft registration VH-VNG  
Serial number 3674  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Melbourne Vic.  
Destination Alice Springs, NT  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft Ltd  
Aircraft model PC-12  
Aircraft registration VH-FMP  
Serial number 122  
Type of operation Medical Transport  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Tennant Creek, NT  
Destination Alice Springs, NT  
Last update 14 November 2018