Aviation safety investigations & reports

TCAS event between an ATR72, VH FVH and a Bombardier DHC-8-315, VH TQZ, Port Macquarie, NSW, 12 February 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 12 February 2013, a Skywest Airlines ATR72 aircraft, registered VH-FVH (FVH), departed Sydney on a scheduled passenger service to Port Macquarie, New South Wales, under the instrument flight rules (IFR). The crew planned to enter the Port Macquarie non-directional (radio) beacon (NDB) holding pattern at 3,600 ft and then conduct an NDB approach to runway 21.

When inbound to Port Macquarie, the crew heard a taxi call from the crew of an Eastern Australia Airlines Bombardier DHC-8-315 aircraft, registered VH-TQZ (TQZ), operating an IFR scheduled passenger service from Port Macquarie to Sydney.

The crews of both FVH and TQZ discussed their respective positions and intentions and the crew of TQZ stated that they would advise FVH when they were about to take-off.

When lined up on runway 03, the crew of TQZ observed FVH on the aircraft’s traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS), positioned directly overhead the airport and turning outbound in the holding pattern. The crew of TQZ broadcast a call advising FVH they were about to commence the take-off run and intended to conduct a left turn at 600 ft.

When on downwind, approaching 3,000 ft in IMC, the captain of TQZ observed an aircraft on the TCAS, above. The captain identified the aircraft as FVH and instructed the first officer to stop the climb and turn the aircraft to the right. Shortly after, the crew received a TCAS traffic advisory (TA) and then an initial resolution advisory (RA) to descend, followed shortly after by an RA to ‘adjust vertical speed’. At the same time, while also in IMC, the crew of FVH also reported receiving a TCAS TA and then a TCAS RA to climb. The captain of FVH immediately responded and climbed the aircraft.  Both flights continued without further incident.

It is essential that pilots monitor their surroundings and have an awareness of traffic disposition. It is important to know where the traffic is and where it will be in relation to you, so that potential issues can be identified and actioned, before they escalate. This is particularly important when operating at non-towered aerodromes, where aircraft separation is pilot responsibility.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 23

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[Download  PDF: 337KB]
General details
Date: 12 February 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1659 EDT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Port Macquarie    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: ACAS warning  
Release date: 31 October 2013   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer ATR-Gie Avions De Transport Régional  
Aircraft model ATR72  
Aircraft registration VH-FVH  
Serial number 954  
Operator Skywest Airlines (Australia) Pty Ltd  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Port Macquarie, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-TQZ  
Serial number 555  
Operator Eastern Australia Airlines Pty Limited  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Port Macquarie, NSW  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018