At about 1525, a Piper PA-39 aircraft, registered VH-MAB (MAB), on an instrument flight rules (IFR) training flight, with a flight instructor and student pilot on board, was approaching Wangaratta, Victoria, on a direct track from Albury, New South Wales. When about 15 NM from the aerodrome, the student pilot of MAB broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) advising his intention to conduct a practice non-directional beacon (NDB) approach.
At about 1540, the pilot of a Piper PA-34 aircraft, registered VH FOE (FOE), broadcast on the CTAF, advising that FOE was 10 NM south-east of Wangaratta at 4,500 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), on descent and inbound to the aerodrome. The instructor of MAB heard this broadcast and did not respond.
The instructor of MAB reported broadcasting turning inbound and when about 3 NM from the aerodrome advising his intention to conduct a missed approach from overhead the aerodrome. The student of MAB continued the approach until about 1,000 ft above ground level, overhead the NDB, he commenced a climb, maintaining runway heading.
On arriving overhead the aerodrome and descending through about 2,400 ft AMSL, the pilot of FOE broadcast on the CTAF advising that FOE was overhead, and commenced a right turn to join downwind for runway 18. About 2 seconds later the pilot sighted MAB below and on a reciprocal heading and estimated the aircraft was about 100-200 m away and about 40-70 ft below FOE.
The instructor of MAB reported that he was overhead the runway 36 threshold and on climb when he sighted FOE about 250-300 ft above and almost directly overhead. He immediately pushed forward on the control column to level the aircraft off.
This incident highlights the importance of using both unalerted and alerted see-and-avoid principles and maintaining a vigilant lookout at all times.