Final Report


What happened

At 0027 Western Standard Time on 1 June 2012, a Boeing 717 aircraft, registered VH-NXO and operated by Cobham Airline Services, was conducting an instrument approach to land on runway 03 at Perth Airport after a flight from Paraburdoo, Western Australia.

The approach was being conducted in instrument meteorological conditions. When the aircraft was at the decision altitude, the crew initiated a missed approach procedure as they had not obtained visual reference with the runway. Almost immediately, the crew obtained visual reference with the runway, discontinued the missed approach procedure and landed.

What the ATSB found

The onset of fog at Perth Airport at the estimated time of arrival was not forecast until after the aircraft had passed the point in the flight when it had insufficient fuel remaining to divert to a suitable alternate aerodrome. Before that point, there had been no requirement for the aircraft to carry fuel to continue to a suitable alternate.

Under the circumstances, the flight crew considered that the better option was to discontinue the missed approach procedure and land, in spite of the aircraft being in an unstable condition due to the initiation of the missed approach.

Safety message

This occurrence highlights that during a flight, the forecast weather at the destination may change and the advisability of obtaining the most up-to-date weather forecasts. However, pilots should be alert to the fact that the actual weather can differ significantly from forecasts.

The occurrence also highlights the risk of an unstable approach from not following a missed approach through to its conclusion. Unstable approaches are a frequent factor in approach and landing accidents, including controlled flight into terrain. The Flight Safety Foundation has developed an Approach and Landing Accident Reduction Tool Kit aimed at reducing the risk of approach and landing accidents. The toolkit can be found at Flight Safety Foundation website.


The occurrence


Safety analysis


Sources and submissions