On 6 January 2013, at about 1402 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, a Hawker B200 aircraft, registered VH‑AMQ (AMQ), was inbound to Griffith from Sydney, New South Wales, on an aero-medical retrieval flight. On board the aircraft were the pilot and a flight nurse. When 25 NM to the east of Griffith, the pilot of AMQ broadcast his position and intentions on the Griffith common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). The pilot of a Schempp-Hirth Ventus glider, with the Netherlands registration of PH-1234 (1234), replied to AMQ’s broadcast, advising that he was 12 NM east of the airport, at 3,300 ft, and tracking to the north.

Operating in the area were a number of fire-bombing aircraft and a group of over 30 gliders involved in a friendly competition, transiting the area.

Shortly after the pilot of AMQ broadcast on the CTAF when 13 NM to the east, descending through 4,500 ft, the pilot of AMQ reported that the aircraft’s traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) indicated ‘traffic 800 ft below’. The pilot made visual contact with a climbing glider. He broadcast on the CTAF that AMQ was in the two o’clock high position relative to the glider. Initiating avoiding action, the pilot of AMQ discontinued the RNAV approach, and commenced a right turn and shallow climb. At about 1405, AMQ passed about 275 m laterally and 62 ft vertically over the glider

As a result of this occurrence, the Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA) advised the ATSB that in future, it would email the operator of AMQ before gliding events, where there is expected to be increased levels of glider activity. Although some of these events may be promulgated in NOTAMs, the GFA will provide additional detail regarding the number of gliders and the proposed tracks and altitudes. In addition, the operator of AMQ will be incorporating an article about this incident in their next company safety newsletter.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 18