Aviation safety investigations & reports

Two turbulence events involving a Boeing 737, VH-VZY, and a Bombardier DHC-8-402, VH QOP, en route Wagga Wagga to Sydney, NSW, 7 July 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 114KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 315KB]

The ATSB was advised of two turbulence related events that occurred on 5 July 2013 and 7 July 2013, involving VH-VZY and VH-QOP respectively.


On 5 July 2013, a Boeing 737 aircraft, registered VH‑VZY, departed Perth, Western Australia on a scheduled passenger service to Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. While descending through 8,000 ft, the aircraft encountered severe turbulence for about 2 minutes. The flight crew reported that they experienced difficulties with maintaining their assigned altitude of 7,500 ft for about 1 minute and the aircraft descended to 7,200 ft. A cabin crew member positioned in the rear of the aircraft sustained minor injuries.


On 7 July 2013, a Bombardier DHC-8-402 aircraft, registered VH-QOP, was being operated on a scheduled passenger service from Wagga Wagga to Sydney, New South Wales.

During the cruise, while in clear conditions, maintaining flight level (FL) 210, the aircraft experienced severe turbulence. The turbulence ceased for about 2 seconds and moderate turbulence was then experienced. The aircraft pitched upwards by 5°, the right wing dropped by 7°, and the airspeed increased by about 20 kt. The seat belt sign was turned on. Overall, the turbulence encounter lasted for about 6 seconds. It was reported that a passenger sustained a broken or dislocated ankle and a cabin crew member sustained an ankle injury.

Research conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) identified that 99 per cent of people on board an aircraft receive no injuries during a typical turbulence event. However, passengers and cabin crew not wearing a seat belt can be thrown around without warning.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - issue 23

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 114KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 315KB]
General details
Date: 07 July 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1022 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): enroute Wagga Wagga to Sydney    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Turbulence/windshear/microburst  
Release date: 31 October 2013   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737  
Aircraft registration VH-VZY  
Serial number 39363  
Operator Qantas  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Perth, WA  
Destination Canberra, ACT  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-QOP  
Serial number 4238  
Operator Sunstate Airlines  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Wagga Wagga, NSW  
Departure time 0950 EST  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018