Aviation safety investigations & reports

: Near collision involving a Grob G115, VH-BBJ and a Grob G115, VH-ZIM, near Merredin (ALA), Western Australia on 21 May 2014

Investigation number:
AO-2014-103
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

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On 21 May 2014, a Grob G115, registered VH-BBJ (BBJ) and a Grob G115, registered VH-ZIM (ZIM) were both conducting duel flight training, in the northern training area, near Merredin aeroplane landing area (ALA), Western Australia.

The student pilot of ZIM was conducting a pre license general flying progress test. After completion of the training area component of the test, in the northern training area, the student pilot navigated to the inbound reporting point near Burracoppin, at an altitude of about 3,500 feet above mean sea level (AMSL). During the flight, the student became disorientated and tracked toward the town of Merredin, instead of Merredin ALA. The student was not able to locate Merredin ALA and the instructor provided assistance by pointing out land features. 

At about the same time, the instructor of BBJ had just completed basic instrument flying with the student in the northern training area. The student tracked to the south east, toward Burracoppin at 3,500 feet AMSL. The aircraft remained clear of the inbound track from Burracoppin to Merredin ALA. The instructor broadcast their intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF).

As ZIM turned to navigate toward Merredin ALA, the instructor observed BBJ, which appeared to take up almost the entire windscreen. The instructor took over control of the aircraft, and took evasive action, pushing the control column forward and descending. At about the same time, the instructor of BBJ observed ZIM straight ahead, at or just below the horizon coming towards them. The instructor also took over control of the aircraft, to take evasive action, pulling the control column rearward and climbing.

Both aircraft returned to Merredin without further incident. The pilots of both aircraft were uninjured and neither aircraft was damaged.

The serious incident highlights that it is difficult for pilots to spot another aircraft through visual observation alone.

 

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 38

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General details
Date: 21 May 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1615 WST    
Location   (show map): near Merredin (ALA)   Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation  
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 27 January 2015   Occurrence class: Airspace  
Report status: Final   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
  Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Grob - Burkhart Flugzeugbau  
Aircraft model G-115C2  
Aircraft registration VH-BBJ  
Serial number 82026/C2  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Merredin, WA  
Destination Merredin, WA  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Grob - Burkhart Flugzeugbau  
Aircraft model G-115C2  
Aircraft registration VH-ZIM  
Serial number 82080/C2  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Merredin, WA  
Destination Merredin, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018