On 31 October 2014, the pilot of a de Havilland DHC-2 aircraft, registered VH-AWD (AWD), conducted a scenic charter flight from Hayman Island Water Landing Area, Queensland. The pilot of AWD broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) when passing Pinnacle Point. The broadcast from AWD was heard by the pilot of a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 aircraft, registered VH-NOQ (NOQ), which had departed from Shute Harbour Airport for a scenic charter flight. Although he heard the broadcast, the pilot of NOQ did not know where Pinnacle Point was as it was not labelled on the visual terminal chart (VTC).

The pilot of NOQ broadcast on the CTAF after passing Tongue Point and heading south along Whitehaven Beach. The pilot of AWD heard a broadcast on the CTAF, possibly that of the pilot of NOQ at Tongue Point, but did not hear the contents of the broadcast. As he missed the broadcast, the pilot of AWD then broadcast his position and intentions, and did not receive a response.

NOQ tracked to the southern end of Whitehaven Beach, turned and headed north returning to Tongue Point. When just south of Tongue Point for the second time, the pilot of NOQ broadcast on the CTAF and advised that he was changing to Hamilton Island air traffic control (ATC) Tower frequency. The pilot then commenced a left turn, selected the Tower frequency and was no longer monitoring the CTAF.

At about 1354 Australian Eastern Standard Time, and 1,300 feet, when approaching Tongue Point from Dumbell Island, the pilot of AWD sighted NOQ on a reciprocal track and estimated the aircraft passed on his right about 50 m away and about 50 feet above AWD.

This incident highlights the importance of broadcasting radio calls on, and monitoring, the appropriate frequency, to alert pilots and assist in see-and-avoid practices. It serves as a reminder to keep a good lookout for other aircraft, particularly around high traffic areas and radio frequency zone boundaries.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 38