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Final Report

Summary

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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