Aviation safety investigations & reports

Breakdown of separation - Boeing 737-438, VH-TJS and Fairchild SA227, VH-MYI, 28 km E Melbourne Airport, VIC, 21 June 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 21 June 2012, a breakdown of separation occurred between a Qantas Airways Boeing Company B737-438, registered VH-TJS (TJS) and a Sharp Aviation Fairchild SA227, registered VH-MYI (MYI) near Melbourne Airport, Victoria. After being radar vectored from the north-east and given an assigned heading of 230˚, TJS was cleared to conduct an instrument approach to runway 27 at Melbourne Airport. However, instead of intercepting the runway 27 localizer, TJS maintained the assigned heading and passed through the localizer by about 1 NM. As a result the separation between TJS and MYI reduced to less than the required standard of 3 NM.

Although the reason for the clearance deviation could not be positively identified, it was likely that a higher than usual workload resulted in the flight crew not arming the appropriate approach mode or observing the aircraft’s closure relative to the runway 27 localizer. The occurrence highlights the need for flight crews to closely monitor the aircraft flight path and be ready to take prompt action in the event of any deviation from the cleared route.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 13


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 169KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 286KB]
General details
Date: 21 June 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
  Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 28 km E Melbourne Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 27 November 2012   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Aircraft registration VH-TJS  
Serial number 24444  
Operator Qantas Airways  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Melbourne, VIC  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227  
Aircraft registration VH-MYI  
Serial number DC-869B  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Orange, NSW  
Destination Essendon, VIC  
Last update 14 November 2018