On 2 May 2013, a Mooney M20 aircraft, registered VH‑FRO (FRO) was inbound to Dubbo, New South Wales. The pilot was conducting a private flight and was the only person on board. The pilot reported that he broadcast on the Dubbo common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) indicating that he was on descent and would join base for runway 05.

At about 1217 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of a Piper PA‑31 aircraft, registered VH‑HJE (HJE) was preparing to depart Dubbo. He broadcast on the Dubbo CTAF his intention to conduct a flight under instrument flight rules from Dubbo to Lighting Ridge. The pilot and a flight nurse were on board. The pilot taxied via taxiway A, to the holding point for runway 05. At the holding point, the pilot conducted his engine run ups and pre-flight checks. 

The pilot of FRO reported that he heard the pilot of HJE’s broadcasts and when he broadcast that he was on final for runway 05, he saw HJE stationary at the holding point. 

At about 1220, the pilot of HJE had completed the engine run ups and broadcast his intention to enter and back track to runway 05. Before moving, the pilot reported that he looked down the flight path of runways 05 and 23 and did not see any aircraft. He stated that he had not heard any broadcasts from FRO.

On short final, about 200 feet above the runway, the pilot of FRO heard the broadcast from HJE and saw HJE move. At the same time, the pilot of HJE spotted an aircraft, which was previously obscured by the aircraft’s window frame, on short final for runway 05 and brought the aircraft to a stop. The pilot of FRO applied full power and commenced a go around.

This incident highlights the importance of not solely relying on monitoring the radio to achieve traffic awareness, especially around non-towered aerodromes.


Aviation Short investigation Bulletin Issue 21