On 2 January 2015, the pilot of a Starduster SA300 aircraft, registered VH-XRS (XRS), prepared for a local private flight at Tyabb Airport, Victoria and observed the windsock indicating calm conditions. The pilot elected to follow the airport operator’s procedures for nil wind, and use the preferred runway, runway 17.

The instructor and student pilot of a Cessna 152 aircraft, registered VH NKL (NKL), taxied for circuits at Tyabb. Although the preferred runway in the wind conditions was runway 17, the instructor elected to use runway 35. The student pilot broadcast taxiing for runway 35 and commenced taxiing towards the threshold of runway 35.

The pilot of XRS did not hear that broadcast, or sight NKL at that time. At the apron, the pilot of XRS broadcast taxiing for runway 17 and commenced taxiing north towards the threshold of runway 17. Neither pilot of NKL heard the taxi broadcast from the pilot of XRS.

The student pilot of NKL then broadcast entering and backtracking runway 35, and NKL entered the runway and taxied to the southern threshold. The student pilot then broadcast lining up and departing runway 35 for circuits. The pilot of XRS did not hear the broadcasts, but was by then at the threshold of runway 17 and broadcast lining up and departing runway 17. The pilots of NKL did not hear that broadcast.

As NKL lifted off, the instructor sighted XRS in the take-off run on the opposite runway and took control of the aircraft from the student, commencing a left climbing turn, while keeping XRS in sight.

When about 10 ft above ground level, the pilot of XRS sighted NKL ahead and banking to the left. He also commenced a left turn and the aircraft passed about 50 m from each other.

The risk of reduced separation events can be minimised through good communication by pilots. Most importantly, a good visual lookout should be maintained at all times.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 40


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