Aviation safety investigations & reports

Violation of controlled airspace - Piper PA-28-181, VH-TXD near Altona, Vic, 26 September 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 26 September 2011 at 1151 Eastern Standard Time, the crew of an Airbus A321 (Airbus) aircraft, registered VH-VWW, received on the aircraft's traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) a traffic advisory (TA) alert, for an aircraft that was approaching from their front-right position at 2 NM (3.7 km) at 2,700 ft. The Airbus was maintaining 3,000 ft on an ARBEY standard terminal arrival route to runway 34 Left at Melbourne Airport, Victoria and was in Class C controlled airspace. The upper limit of non-controlled Class G airspace in the area was 2,500 ft.

It was later found that the pilot of the other aircraft a Piper PA-28-181 Archer, registered VH-TXD, had incorrectly set the aircraft's altimeter barometric pressure subscale setting, resulting in the aircraft entering controlled airspace without a clearance and a violation of controlled airspace occurring.

The occurrence was quickly resolved due to the traffic alert from the Airbus A321 aircraft's TCAS and the subsequent response from the flight crew.

This incident acts as a reminder to pilots of the importance to cross-check cockpit settings before flight.

Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 4.43MB]
General details
Date: 26 September 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1152 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Altona    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 14 March 2012   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A321  
Aircraft registration VH-VWW  
Serial number 3916  
Operator Jetstar  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Darwin, NT  
Destination Melbourne, Vic  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28  
Aircraft registration VH-TXD  
Serial number 2843577  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 14 November 2018