On 21 November 2012, a Beech 200 Kingair aircraft, registered VH-VAH (VAH) turned onto final approach for runway 26 at Swan Hill aerodrome, Victoria.  At the same time, an Ag-Cat aircraft VH- IFE (IFE) was approaching the circuit at about one hundred feet above ground level, from the north-west.

The pilot of VAH had made all mandatory radio broadcasts on the CTAF frequency and had not received a reply since earlier negotiating separation with a departing aircraft.

When at about four hundred feet above ground level and configured for landing, the pilot of VAH first noticed IFE. He broadcast his position and intentions, but received no reply. IFE continued a curved approach and landed on the grass section, north of the sealed section of runway 26. To maintain a safe separation, VAH landed long and well clear of IFE.

IFE was not fitted with a radio. The pilot always relied on a hand-held one. On this occasion he had inadvertently left the radio at home.

The ATSB’s Safety Watch initiative highlights safety around non-towered aerodromes as one of the major safety concerns that arise from investigation findings.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 16