On 6 June 2014, a Grob G-115CD aircraft, registered VH-ZYM departed Merredin for Jandakot, Western Australia, on a dual navigation exercise.

After arriving at Jandakot, and having a lunch break, another instructor briefed the student on circuit procedures at Jandakot. A third instructor then conducted a session of circuits with the student. The student then taxied back to the apron where the instructor egressed. The student then conducted 3-4 solo circuits prior to returning to the southern apron for parking.

As the aircraft arrived at the company parking area, the student saw the fuel truck operator refuelling an aircraft on the left side of the taxiway. He assessed that there was sufficient room to taxi past the vehicle, and entered the taxiway with the vehicle on his left.

Shortly after, the aircraft’s left wing struck the vehicle and it then swung rapidly around facing the diesel fuel tank. The student applied the brakes, and the aircraft propeller stopped within centremetres of the tank.

The fuel vehicle operator had seen the aircraft taxi in and had hit the emergency stop button as the aircraft struck the vehicle.

The student was not injured, however the aircraft and fuel truck sustained minor damage.

As a Safety Action the flying college have temporarily ceased to use the taxiways into the parking lines. Operational staff have been briefed and trained on safe aircraft manoeuvring in this area.

Also, as agreed with the fuel company, all new students will participate in a Fuel Hazards training course conducted by the fuel company. Students will have to complete all relevant training modules before commencing flying training.

The fuel company are considering the use of cone markers around the vehicle during refuelling operations.

A collaborative Safety Action between the flying college, the refuelling company and the airport operator have changed refuelling and taxying procedures on the southern apron.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 35