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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

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General details
Date: 07 July 2013 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1022 EST  
Location   (show map):enroute Wagga Wagga to Sydney Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Turbulence/windshear/microburst 
Release date: 31 October 2013 Occurrence class: Environment 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
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 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
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Last update 06 June 2014