Aviation safety investigations & reports

Near collision involving Beech B200, VH-SBM and Piper Saratoga, VH-XKS at Normanton, Qld on 4 March 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 4 March 2014, at about 0809 EST, a Piper Saratoga aircraft, registered VH-XKS (XKS) departed Mareeba Airport on a private flight to Normanton Airport, Queensland. The direct flight was planned under the visual flight rules and the pilot was the sole person on board.

The flight went normally until approaching Normanton. Approaching the 10 NM boundary, the pilot broadcast his intentions on the Normanton CTAF and realised the second radio, COMM 2 had failed.  He was unable to get COMM 1 operational.

Due to being low on fuel, he had little time to trouble shoot any further, so joined the circuit at Normanton for runway 14. He continued to make broadcasts on the radio in the hope that it may still be transmitting.

At the same time, a Beech 200 Kingair aircraft, registered VH-SBM (SBM) was completing a short leg of a charter flight from nearby Karumba. After obtaining the weather from the AWIS at Normanton, and broadcasting his intentions on the Normanton CTAF, he elected to conduct a straight in approach to runway 14.

As the Kingair descended through 800 ft, the pilot noticed movement in his left periphery below him. The Saratoga was partly obscured by SBM/s engine nacelles and the colour merged into the swollen river below. The two aircraft were on converging tracks and about 50 m apart. The pilot of the Kingair initiated a go-around and the pilot of the Saratoga, still unaware of the near collision landed on runway 14.

Pre-flight preparation is an essential part of safe flying operations. This incident highlights the importance of reviewing all available information appropriate to the intended operation, including having a thorough knowledge of aircraft systems.

Staying safe in the vicinity of non-towered aerodromes is available from the ATSB website.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 34

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[Download  PDF: 218KB]
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General details
Date: 04 March 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0956 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Normanton Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Near collision  
Release date: 03 September 2014   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 200  
Aircraft registration VH-SBM  
Serial number BB-964  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Karumba, Qld  
Destination Normanton, Qld  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-32  
Aircraft registration VH-XKS  
Serial number 32R-8629001  
Type of operation Unknown  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Destination Normanton, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018