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On 9 December 2011 a S.O.C.A.T.A. Groupe Aerospatiale TBM 700 aircraft, registered VH-VSV (VSV) departed Bankstown airport, for a private flight to Merimbula, New South Wales. Onboard the aircraft was a pilot and one passenger.

The pilot was cleared to depart Bankstown control zone on a downwind departure from runway 11 left, however mistakenly conducted an upwind departure. The aircraft penetrated Sydney controlled airspace by 2.3 NM and came within 1.2 NM with no vertical separation of another aircraft on approach into Sydney Airport and a breakdown of separation occurred.

The controller at Bankstown tower then instructed the pilot of VSV to conduct a left turn and track back overhead Bankstown airport.

This incident highlights the importance of developing a technique to ensure a clearance is processed, understood and actioned correctly. It is also important to clarify a clearance if any ambiguity exists. Finally, pre-flight planning is essential to ensure safe flight. CASA has published a Visual Pilot Guide for Archerfield, Jandakot, Melbourne, Parafield and Sydney areas to provide detailed assistance for operating in these areas.

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