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On 12 September 2013, at about 0956 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 185 aircraft, registered VH-OZA (OZA), departed Moruya, New South Wales for a parachute drop overhead the airport.

At about 1013, the crew of a Regional Express Saab 340B aircraft, registered VH-ZLJ (ZLJ), broadcast a call advising they were taxiing for runway 36 at Moruya, for a scheduled passenger service to Merimbula. In response, the pilot of OZA broadcast a call advising of his intention to conduct a parachute drop overhead.

At about 1018, the crew of ZLJ broadcast that they had entered, and were rolling on runway 36, and intended to conduct a right turn after take‑off, with a departure track of 178° (True).

Soon after, the parachute drop was completed. 

At about 1021, the crew of ZLJ asked the pilot of OZA to confirm that the drop had been completed. At that time, ZLJ was climbing through 3,500 ft and tracking to overhead the airport. The crew then questioned the altitude, time and position the parachutists had been dropped. The pilot of OZA advised that they had been dropped about 0.4 NM to the west of the airport, about 30 seconds previously.

The crew of ZLJ immediately turned the aircraft left. They continued to parallel their intended departure track overwater until about 10 NM to the south of the airport. The flight continued without further incident.

As a result of this occurrence, the operator of OZA has advised the ATSB that they have distributed a letter to all company pilots detailing the incident and highlighting the importance of not becoming complacent with procedures.

This incident highlights the impact complacency and time pressures can have on aircraft operations. It is important that pilots remain vigilant and alert, and be mindful that the even the most routine tasks must be conducted with care and concentration. Furthermore, when time pressures do occur, it is a useful strategy for pilots to take the time to re-evaluate the task and their priority.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 24

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General details
Date: 12 September 2013 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 10:25 EST  
Location   (show map):Moruya Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Miscellaneous - Other 
Release date: 10 December 2013 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: S.A.A.B. Aircraft Co 
Aircraft model: 340 
Aircraft registration: VH-ZLJ 
Serial number: 340B380 
Operator: Regional Express 
Type of operation: Air Transport Low Capacity 
Sector: Turboprop 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Moruya, NSW
Destination:Merimbula, NSW
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 185 
Aircraft registration: VH-OZA 
Serial number: 18503645 
Type of operation: Private 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Moruya, NSW
Destination:Moruya, NSW
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Last update 16 April 2018