On 6 September 2015, the pilot of a Jabiru 120 aircraft, registered 24-5340 (J5340), conducted a flight from Wangaratta to Latrobe Valley Airport, Victoria. Another Jabiru aircraft (J1) had departed Wangaratta about 2 minutes before J5340, and also travelled to Latrobe Valley. At about 1540 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of J5340 broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) when 10 NM to the north of the aerodrome, stating the current position of the aircraft and advising that J5340 was on descent and inbound to Latrobe Valley. The pilot of J1 had broadcast about 2 minutes earlier inbound to the airfield at 10 NM.

Following the broadcast by the pilot of J5340, the pilot of a Cessna 172 aircraft, registered VH-EOT (EOT), broadcast on the CTAF, that EOT was 10 NM from the aerodrome and inbound from the west. The pilot of EOT did not see a Jabiru aircraft at that time.

The pilot of J5340 reported broadcasting again, when 5 NM from the airfield, advising his intention to join the circuit on a long downwind for runway 03. Then when approaching abeam the northern threshold of the runway and on the downwind leg of the circuit, the pilot of J5340 broadcast joining downwind at circuit height for runway 03.

The pilot of J1 reported also having broadcast at 5 NM and when joining downwind, and was on late downwind when J5340 joined the circuit.

About 15 to 20 seconds after the pilot of J5340 broadcast joining downwind, the pilot of EOT broadcast joining on a midfield crosswind leg for runway 03. The pilot of EOT later reported that he had not seen either Jabiru at that time.

The pilot of J5340 assessed that a collision with EOT was imminent, and immediately applied full power, conducted a steep climb and sharp right turn. As he levelled the aircraft off, after climbing about 200-300 ft, EOT passed directly underneath and then turned left onto downwind. The pilot of J5340 then broadcast a call to the pilot of EOT advising that he was above him and to his right and asked whether he had J5340 in sight. The pilot of EOT then sighted the Jabiru above him to his right, and responded ‘yes’.

The pilot of J5340 extended the downwind leg to ensure adequate separation existed between the two aircraft. J1 had landed by that time, and both EOT and J5340 subsequently landed safely.

Pilots operating under the visual flight rules are reminded to maintain vigilance so as to see and avoid other aircraft.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 45