At about 0900 Eastern Standard Time (EST), a Beech BE76 aircraft, registered VH-SRO (SRO), departed Archerfield Airport, Queensland, for a local flight to the training area south of the airport, with an instructor and a pilot in command under supervision (ICUS) on board. At about 0920, the student pilot of a Cessna 172 aircraft, registered VH-EEM (EEM), departed Archerfield for a solo local area flight. The student’s planned route was to track south-east outbound from Archerfield at 1,000 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), and when overhead the Logan Motorway, climb to 2,500 ft AMSL and track towards Logan Village. There the aircraft climbed to 3,000 ft AMSL and the student practiced turns before tracking towards Jimboomba.
After completing training exercises at 3,000 ft AMSL in the vicinity of Beaudesert, SRO commenced tracking north towards Park Ridge to return to Archerfield. At about 0940 EST, 6 km south of Park Ridge and 3,000 ft AMSL, the instructor sighted EEM on a converging heading in his 1 o’clock position, and immediately took control of the aircraft from the pilot ICUS. He conducted a descent and estimated that EEM passed about 50 ft above SRO and about 100 m away horizontally. The student pilot of EEM observed SRO pass below and to the right.
Radar data provided to the ATSB by Airservices Australia indicated that EEM passed about 100 ft over SRO, with aircraft altitudes unverified.
This incident highlights the importance of communication and the limitations of unalerted see-and-avoid principles.