On 31 December 2013, at about 0945 Western Standard Time (WST), the driver of an ambulance received a telephone call from the State Operations Centre to meet a rescue helicopter at the Jurien Bay aeroplane landing area (ALA), Western Australia.

At about 0950, the pilot of a Cessna 208 aircraft, registered VH LNI (LNI), landed at Jurien Bay (ALA) and parked at the northern apron, in front of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) terminal, with the engine running, in preparation for the arrival of parachutists. At about 0955, the ambulance arrived at the aerodrome at the RFDS gate. The driver stopped the ambulance and unlocked the gate and cut rope barriers that had been erected and were blocking ambulance access to the RFDS terminal.

The ambulance entered the airport and proceeded via the RFDS apron towards the runway. The driver reported that the ambulance deviated past the standing aircraft leaving about 14 m distance from the aircraft propeller. The pilot of LNI estimated the distance to be about 3 m.

The ambulance then entered the runway and drove towards the helipad, about 300 m south of the RFDS apron. While driving along the runway, the ambulance driver received a call from the Operations Centre advising that the helicopter was at the Jurien Bay marina awaiting the ambulance for patient transfer. He made a U turn and returned via the same route, and reported again deviating around the stationary aircraft maintaining a safe distance. The pilot of LNI reported that the ambulance passed within about 2 m of the aircraft wingtip.

This incident highlights the importance of understanding local procedures around non-controlled aerodromes, in particular having agreements between users of a facility.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin Issue - 27