Aviation safety investigations & reports

Loss of separation between a Schweizer 269C, VH-HYD and a Piper PA-31, VH-IBI, Moorabbin Airport, Vic., on 22 October 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 22 October 2013, at about 0850 Eastern Daylight-savings Time (EDT),  a flight instructor and student pilot of a Schweizer 269C helicopter, registered VH-HYD (HYD), taxied to the southern helipad to conduct circuits at Moorabbin Airport, Victoria. 

Runway 17 Left (17L) was the designated runway in use at the time. The helicopter circuit area was the ‘Eastern Grass’, defined as the area extending from 20 m east of, and parallel to, runway 17L to the perimeter fence.

At about 0914, the pilot of a Piper PA 31 aircraft, registered VH-IBI (IBI), requested a clearance for an IFR flight to Barnbougle Dunes, Tasmania and commenced taxiing for runway 17L. At about 0917, the pilot of an aircraft taxiing for circuits reported ready at the holding point for runway 17L.

To facilitate re-sequencing of the aircraft, the controller opted to change the departure runway for IBI from runway 17L to runway 13L. At this time, the helicopter, HYD, was on the runway 31 Right threshold at the far end of runway 13L, however the controller did not see the helicopter when conducting a scan of the runway prior to clearing IBI for take-off.

At about 0918, the controller cleared IBI for take-off from runway 13L. The pilot of IBI sighted the helicopter ahead, on the runway centreline, when about two-thirds of the way along the runway. As the aircraft had already exceeded the minimum rotate speed, the pilot continued the take-off, increased the aircraft’s angle of climb, and IBI passed about 100-200 ft above HYD.

As a result of this investigation, Airservices Australia has committed to review procedures at Moorabbin Airport.


 Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 28

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 534KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 881KB]
General details
Date: 22 October 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0919 ESuT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Moorabbin Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Loss of separation  
Release date: 27 March 2014   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Schweizer Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 269  
Aircraft registration VH-HYD  
Serial number 179  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Damage to aircraft Nil  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-31  
Aircraft registration VH-IBI  
Serial number 31-7552035  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Moorabbin, Vic.  
Destination Barnbougle Dunes, Tas.  
Last update 14 November 2018