Aviation safety investigations & reports

TCAS advisory involving Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH-SBG near Brisbane Airport, Queensland, 6 November 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On the 6 November 2012 at about 1250 Eastern Standard Time, a Bombardier DHC-8-315, registered VH-SBG (SBG) was conducting a visual approach to Brisbane airport while at the same time a Eurocopter EC120B, registered VH-EHA (EHA) was departing Doomben racecourse, which was located near to the approach path of SBG. To facilitate the departure from Doomben, the pilot of EHA was cleared by the air traffic controller for take-off with a requirement to maintain visual separation with the approaching SBG. Despite this, SBG received a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) alert.

As EHA became airborne and SBG continued to descend as part of its approach, the vertical and lateral distances between the two aircraft reduced. The result was that the flight crew of SBG received a TCAS Resolution Advisory (RA), which meant that they must take immediate action to resolve the potential conflict. A mandatory climb in response to the TCAS RA was actioned by the flight crew which then improperly positioned the aircraft for a continued approach to land. The flight crew elected to conduct a missed approach.

The TCAS RA and missed approach significantly increased the flight crew’s workload, increased the controller’s workload and was a precursor for later aircraft sequencing issues. To facilitate another circuit for SBG, and to assist with the sequencing of other aircraft arrivals, the controller decided to temporarily suspend departures from runway 01. The flight crew of SBG were re‑sequenced for another approach and landed on runway 01 without further incident. 

As a result of this occurrence, Airservices Australia has advised the ATSB that they are taking the following safety actions:

The Manual of Air Traffic Standards (MATS) was updated on 15 November 2012. The update requires air traffic controllers to provide additional consideration of performance characteristic prior to assigning visual separation to the pilot.

Specifically, MATS 10-50-221 (d) requires the controller to consider the possibility of a TCAS Resolution Advisory due to closer proximity of operation prior to assigning visual separation.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 16

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 390KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 9.4MB]
General details
Date: 06 November 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1249 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Brisbane Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: ACAS warning  
Release date: 21 March 2013   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-SBG  
Serial number 575  
Operator QantasLink  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Gladstone, QLD  
Destination Brisbane, QLD  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Eurocopter  
Aircraft model EC120  
Aircraft registration VH-EHA  
Serial number 1148  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Doomben Racecourse, QLD  
Destination Archerfield, QLD  
Last update 14 November 2018