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On 22 April 2016, at about 1440 Eastern Standard Time, an instructor and student were conducting circuit training in a Robinson R22 helicopter, registered VH-JKH (JKH), at Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, New South Wales. The helicopter was positioned about two thirds of the way down runway 06 when the crew broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) that they were rolling for take-off on runway 06.

Very soon after that broadcast, the pilot of another helicopter operating at the aerodrome alerted the crew of JKH that there was an aircraft rolling for take-off on runway 06 behind them, and suggested that JKH expedite clearing the runway.

A Cessna 182 aeroplane, registered VH-YKM (YKM), had entered the runway at the intersection of taxiway A, and was taking off on runway 06, towards the helicopter (which was still on the runway). The instructor in JKH took control of the helicopter from the student, rejected the take-off and vacated the runway to the northern grass, as the aircraft continued its take off run.

The pilot of YKM later found that although the aircraft radio was on, and was set to the CTAF, the radio microphone was not fully plugged in. In this condition, none of their broadcasts on the CTAF had been successfully transmitted. The pilot of YKM had not heard any broadcast from JKH and did not see the helicopter on the runway, despite checking to see that the runway was clear before entering.

Pilots are encouraged to check the performance of radio communications systems as part of their pre-flight procedures.

 

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 51

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General details
Date: 22 April 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 15:15 EST Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Location   (show map):Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Occurrence type:Near collision 
State: New South Wales Occurrence class: Operational 
Release date: 08 September 2016 Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
Report status: Final Highest injury level: None 
 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Robinson Helicopter Co 
Aircraft model: R22 BETA 
Aircraft registration: VH-JKH 
Serial number: 1086 
Type of operation: Flying Training 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Ballina/Byron Gateway, NSW
Destination:Ballina/Byron Gateway, NSW
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 182T 
Aircraft registration: VH-YKM 
Serial number: 18281374 
Type of operation: Private 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Ballina/Byron Gateway, NSW
Destination:Grafton, NSW
 
 
 
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Last update 18 April 2017