On 10 September 2015, at about 0930 Eastern Standard Time (EST), an instructor and student pilot of a Cessna 172M aircraft, registered VH-EJM (EJM), was conducting circuits at Townsville Airport, Queensland.

The student was flying the aircraft and on mid-final for a touch-and-go landing on runway 07, when the instructor noticed a truck on the perimeter road, near the threshold to runway 07. The truck had not held at the stop sign. The stop sign required all vehicles to stop, look for aircraft, and not proceed unless there was no aircraft landing.

Shortly after the instructor sighted the truck, the Townsville Tower air traffic controller advised the pilots of EJM that there was a truck on the perimeter road. The instructor acknowledged the controller and they proceeded with the landing.

The aircraft conducted a touch-and-go and continued with several more circuits without incident.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has identified runway safety as one of its priorities and has been working with countries and aviation organisations globally to reduce runway safety accidents. ICAO has developed a runway safety website, which offers a range of information and products to assist the aviation community to improve runway safety.

In addition, ICAO has published a Manual on the Prevention of Runway Incursions Doc 9870 AN/463, available from the ICAO website. The manual includes information on the prevention of runway incursions. The manual discusses that deficiencies in design, training, technology, procedures, regulations and human performance can result in a system break down and safety being compromised. A pilot as part of the last line of defence cannot assume that anyone will do the right thing, like the driver of the truck stopping at the stop sign, and they need to be prepared to re-evaluate the planned flight.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin Issue 46

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