Aviation safety investigations & reports

Runway loss of separation between a Bombardier DHC 8 202, VH-ZZJ and an Aerospatiale AS332 L1, VH-LOJ, Darwin Airport, Northern Territory, 4 September 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At 1526 Central Standard Time on 4 September 2012, a Bombardier DHC-8-202, registered VH-ZZJ (ZZJ), was cleared to takeoff on runway 29 at Darwin airport, Northern Territory. At 1528 and before ZZJ had commenced takeoff, an Aerospatiale AS.332L1, registered VH-LOJ (LOJ), called ready on runway 36. The Aerodrome Controller (ADC) cleared LOJ for takeoff and instructed the pilot to maintain upwind.

The pilot of ZZJ heard the transmission and, believing that there would have been a risk of a collision if he commenced takeoff, delayed his departure until after LOJ had crossed the intersection of the two runways. The action of the pilot of ZZJ to delay takeoff reduced the likelihood of a more serious incident.

Air traffic services at Darwin are provided by the Department of Defence (Defence). The Defence investigation found that an unsafe takeoff clearance had been issued to LOJ, resulting in a runway separation breakdown. Further, the ADC failed to monitor both ZZJ and LOJ during a critical phase of operation – takeoff. The actions of the pilot of ZZJ, by delaying takeoff, reduced the severity of the incident.

The pilot of ZZJ did not query the ADC’s instructions at the time and did not report the incident until two days later. The pilot of LOJ was not aware of the incident and the ADC did not recall the incident.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 17

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 189KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 526KB]
General details
Date: 04 September 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1526 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Darwin Airport    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 23 April 2013   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 4th Quarter 2012    

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-ZZJ  
Serial number 551  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Darwin, NT  
Destination Darwin, NT  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Aerospatiale Industries  
Aircraft model AS332  
Aircraft registration VH-LOJ  
Serial number 2312  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Darwin, NT  
Last update 14 November 2018