The pilot of a Cessna 404 aircraft registered VH-VEC was conducting an aerial survey flight north-east of Mangalore Aerodrome, Victoria. The flight was under the instrument flight rules (IFR) and flown at about 1500 ft above ground level. It took the aircraft across the extended centreline of runway 36.

The pilot made all required CTAF broadcasts while operating in the area. At the same time VEC was conducting the survey, several aircraft were departing Mangalore for a series of different navigational exercises.

The pilot of VEC continually attempted to call the pilots in the departing aircraft, to establish their position and intentions. However, as per their training, the pilot’s did not respond until their aircraft was at least five hundred feet above the ground. Also, to due to misunderstanding of the pilot of VEC’s intentions did not respond to his radio calls, unless the request was directed at their particular aircraft.

When the solo student pilot of VH-UNW departed runway 36, he focussed on flying the aircraft rather than communicating, until it reached 500 feet above ground level. Then he lowered the aircraft nose to check for traffic and saw VEC in close proximity. He turned UNW to the right at the same time that the pilot of VEC initiated a climbing turn to the right.

One of the safety concerns from the ATSB SafetyWatch is Safety around non-controlled aerodromes.

Also important is to understand the issues associated with unalerted see-and-avoid, as detailed in the ATSB’s research report, Limitations of the See-and Avoid Principles.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 30