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On 29 June 2012, at about 1757 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper PA-31 Navajo aircraft, registered VH-LWW (LWW), took off from runway 05 at Mackay Airport on a charter flight to Emerald, Queensland.

At that time, an Airport Safety Officer (ASO) was conducting an airfield runway and lighting inspection in an airfield safety vehicle and moving in a north-westerly direction along runway 32. Despite an earlier air traffic control instruction to hold short of runway 05, the ASO was distracted by a telephone call and continued along runway 32, crossing runway 05. LWW passed over the airfield safety vehicle by an estimated vertical distance of 30 ft.

This incident highlights the importance of remaining vigilant during airside operations, and to be mindful of the potential distraction presented by portable communication devices.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 13

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