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Final Report

Summary

On 15 April 2016, the instructor and student of a Pacific Aerospace CT/4B aircraft, registered VH-YCO (YCO), conducted a dual training flight under the instrument flight rules. The aircraft departed from Tamworth Airport, and tracked to Narrabri Airport, before commencing the area navigation (RNAV) runway 11 approach to Gunnedah Airport, all in New South Wales.

The instructor reported that they broadcast on the Gunnedah common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), when 18 NM from the aerodrome. The crew reported hearing a voice-back response from the aerodrome frequency response unit, indicating that no one else had transmitted on the CTAF in the previous 5 minutes, and no response from any other aircraft on the CTAF.

At that time, an instructor and student pilot of a Piper PA-28-181 aircraft, registered VH-WJZ (WJZ), were conducting a local dual training flight from Gunnedah Airport. The instructor reported that they were broadcasting on and monitoring the CTAF.

At about 1450 Eastern Standard Time, YCO was 13 NM north-west of Gunnedah on the RNAV approach for runway 11, and at 4,500 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), when they were alerted by the aircraft’s traffic collision avoidance device of another aircraft. The instructor sighted WJZ at the same level, took control of the aircraft from the student, and conducted a 60° angle of bank turn to the left to avoid WJZ.

The instructor of WJZ sighted YCO when about 13 NM north-west of Gunnedah aerodrome at about 4,000 ft AMSL. The instructor of WJZ conducted a left turn and reported sighting YCO commence a left turn. The aircraft passed at the same level about 150 to 200 m horizontally apart.

Insufficient communication between pilots operating in the same area is the most common cause of safety incidents outside controlled airspace and near non-controlled aerodromes.

 

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 51

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