On 5 October, 2012, a Beech 1900 VH-EMK was operating a passenger carrying charter flight from Darwin to Jabiru, Northern Territory.
With no response to their broadcasts on the local Jabiru aerodrome frequency, and no other aircraft observed on the aircraft traffic monitoring system, the crew continued their approach onto runway 09 at Jabiru. When approaching 5 NM to touchdown, the crew observed a ‘glint’ on the runway and broadcast on the local frequency, again with no response.
At about the same time, an Airparts FU-24, VH-HVP, had broadcast entering and back-tracking the runway for a departure in the opposite direction. The pilot of HVP heard a broadcast from EMK and believed they were further back in the approach.
As HVP was commencing the take-off run, the crew in EMK and the pilot in HVP saw each other and both immediately initiated avoidance manoeuvres.
It was found that the radio in HVP had not been broadcasting, due to an incorrectly positioned switch.
As a result of this incident, the operator of VH-HVP has arranged for all pilots to re-visit company Standard Operating Procedures on radio transmissions and low-level survey flying.
This incident demonstrates the importance of checking the serviceability of radio equipment prior to flight. In particular, the use of available resources such as AFRU for ensuring the radio is transmitting.