On 3 May 2013, the pilot of a Cessna 182 aircraft, registered VH‑EFY (EFY), was conducting parachute operations overhead Nagambie (ALA). The pilot of a Piper PA‑28 aircraft, registered VH‑FZW (FZW), was conducting a private ferry flight from Mangalore to Bendigo and planned to track from Mangalore to the Nagambie Township and then to Bendigo, to avoid the Restricted Area, R351, and Danger Area, D360.
After completing the parachute drop, the pilot of EFY conducted a circling descent, to the west of Nagambie ALA. He joined the base leg of the circuit for runway 02, at about 4,500 ft, and made a broadcast on the CTAF.
When about 6 NM to the west of the Nagambie Township, maintaining 2,500 ft, the pilot of FZW reported observing an aircraft (EFY) above, on descent, tracking from left to right. The pilot took avoiding action.
The pilot of EFY reported that, as he entered the Danger Area, descending through 2,000 ft, he sighted an aircraft (FZW) in his 12 o’clock position taking avoiding action. The pilot banked the aircraft heavily to avoid FZW and estimated the aircraft came within 50 ft of each other.
On 8 May 2013, the pilot of a Bell 206 helicopter, registered VH‑CHA (CHA), was conducting a private flight from Mangalore to Echuca, Victoria, tracking via the Nagambie Township to avoid the Restricted Areas R351, maintaining 1,000 ft.
After passing in the vicinity of the Nagambie Lakes area, the pilot received a call on the CTAF from the drop zone safety officer on the ground at Nagambie ALA advising that he had just flown over a parachuting landing area. At that time, five parachutists had just landed and six were still airborne.
It is crucial that pilots are aware of the potential hazards that exist on their planned flight routes. When operating near, or within a Danger Area, they should be mindful of the activity within that area and take any appropriate precautions.