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On 17 November 2012, a Piper PA-28R aircraft, registered VH‑HKZ, departed Bairnsdale on a private flight to Geelong (Grovedale), Victoria. After landing at Geelong, the pilot noticed that the office buildings were unoccupied and a fence had been placed across runway 09/27. The pilot and passenger exited the aircraft and were subsequently advised that the airstrip had been closed and was being redeveloped.

This incident highlights the importance of reviewing flight information in its entirety, ensuring that operational documents are current, and the benefits of contacting the airstrip operator to not only obtain landing permission, but to also receive information on the runway and its condition, any hazards and/or obstructions, and if there are any special procedures applicable to the airstrip.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 15

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