On 9 March 2013, two glider clubs were conducting gliding operations at Tocumwal aerodrome, New South Wales. A Grob G103 Twin Astir glider, registered VH‑UIZ (UIZ), was towed airborne, however, after a number of orbits looking for rising air, the pilot of UIZ tracked to return to the circuit and land. A few minutes later, a Cessna 150 registered VH‑ROZ (ROZ), became airborne towing a glider. ROZ and this glider were from one gliding club, UIZ from the other. Following the release, the pilot of ROZ turned left and tracked for a left downwind for runway 36L.

Witnesses on the ground reported hearing both pilots making all necessary CTAF broadcasts.

Just as ROZ touched down on runway 36L, the pilot felt a heavy jolt on the top of the cockpit and simultaneously heard a loud noise. Immediately, he saw the windscreen fill with the underside of a glider. He observed the glider continue down the runway at about 5 to 10 ft above ground level. The pilot was uninjured and, on exiting the aircraft, observed a wheel contact print on the top of the aircraft. The pilot of UIZ was uninjured and landed the glider well down the runway. On exiting the glider, the pilot observed damage on the left wing and fuselage.

As a result of this occurrence, the GFA has advised the ATSB that they will raise awareness of collision risk at non-towered aerodromes with its members through the Gliding Magazine and through its biennial Safety Seminars.

As a result of this occurrence, the operator of the glider tug has advised the ATSB that they are sourcing quotes for the fitment of FLARM collision warning system to their gliders and glider tug aircraft.

When operating outside controlled airspace, it is the pilot’s responsibility to maintain separation with other aircraft. For this, it is important that pilots utilise both alerted and unalerted see-and-avoid principles. Pilots should never assume that an absence of traffic broadcasts means an absence of traffic.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin Issue 19