At 0940 Eastern Daylight-saving Time on 2 December 2011 the crew of a Fairchild Industries SA227 aircraft (Metroliner) registered VH-UUN (UUN) was rolling through to the turning node after landing on runway 26 at Portland aerodrome, Victoria when a Cessna Aircraft Company 172 (C172) registered VH-VSH (VSH) was observed on short final for the reciprocal runway. VSH subsequently conducted a go-around.
The crew of UUN were completing a scheduled flight from Hamilton to Portland, Victoria. VSH was on a solo Visual Flight Rules navigation training flight from Ballarat. Despite both aircraft making all required Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) broadcasts, the pilots of UUN and VSH were not aware of each other prior to the incident. Neither aircraft was fitted with a Traffic Collision Avoidance System, nor was fitment required.
The crew of UUN and VSH reported their radios were serviceable and that the correct frequency was used for all required CTAF broadcasts.
This incident highlights the need for pilots to apply all available methods to maintain separation with other aircraft when operating outside controlled airspace. These methods include:
- utilisation of both alerted and un-alerted see-and-avoid principles,
- conducting a radio serviceability check when operating at a non-towered aerodrome equipped with an Aerodrome Frequency Response Unit, and
- use of on board collision avoidance systems where fitted.
Where ground-based personnel could provide regular operators with advice on the presence of other airspace users, operators should formalise the use of such resources to ensure maximum benefit without detracting flight crew from their prime duties.