On 21 June 2013, an Embraer ERJ 190 aircraft operated by Virgin Australia, registered VH‑ZPC (ZPC), was being operated on a scheduled passenger flight from Perth to Broome, Western Australia. The first officer (FO) was designated as the pilot flying and the captain was the pilot monitoring. During the pre-flight checks, the crew discussed which runway they would use for the take-off.

The captain advised that they should use 03 and use ‘Kilo’ intersection to make it worthwhile. This placed the thought in the FO’s mind that ‘Kilo’ was longer than ‘Lima’, as there were no take‑off figures for ‘Kilo’. The FO entered the data for a departure from the intersection of taxiway ‘Lima’ on runway 03, into the flight management system (FMS). Those figures would have included a buffer tor the take-off for anything longer than ‘Lima’, including ‘Kilo’, as the FO was then under the impression that ‘Kilo’ was longer than ‘Lima’.

The FO requested a taxi clearance to the taxiway ‘Kilo’ intersection of runway 03, and that clearance was given by air traffic control (ATC). The captain then taxied the aircraft as per the ATC clearance, across runway 06 via taxiway ‘Juliet 1’, then via taxiway ‘Alpha’ to ‘Kilo’ from where they were cleared to take off on runway 03. The FO conducted the standard take-off review, which included checking that the departure runway was correct, but did not have a requirement to verify the intersection.

During the take-off run, the aircraft was approaching V1 when the captain thought that something did not appear correct. Once airborne, the crew realised that the planned departure was from the intersection of taxiway ‘Lima’ but they had inadvertently departed from the ‘Kilo’ intersection.

The FO had previously operated other aircraft from Perth, frequently departing from the ‘Kilo’ intersection.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 23