On 22 May 2012 at 1608 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper PA-34-220T, registered VH-PWQ (PWQ), conducting training under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and a Cessna R182, registered VH-JYG (JYG), on a pipeline survey under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) passed within 0.1 NM and 100 ft of each other in Class D airspace at Avalon aerodrome, Victoria.

The air traffic controller had provided traffic information to both aircraft, but the pilot of PWQ stated that the information was not sufficient for him to understand the intended track of JYG.

Traffic information provided by air traffic controllers must be concise, however it needs to include enough relevant reference information to enable the pilot to determine if any avoidance action is required. A recent amendment to documents used by air traffic controllers provided more detail on the provision of safety alerts in all classes of airspace and on when to issue avoiding action within surveillance coverage.

In Class D, where separation is not provided between IFR and VFR aircraft, pilots need to be aware of the limitations of the see-and-avoid principle. Pilots should also be aware of their responsibilities in Class D and conscious of the dangers of expectation.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 13