Final Report


On 20 May 2016, the pilot of an Airbus Helicopters EC 130 T2 helicopter, registered VH-ZVO (ZVO), was conducting a ferry flight from Port Kembla to Bankstown Airport, New South Wales, with an engineer on board. At about 1437 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of ZVO contacted Bankstown aerodrome controller (ADC) and was cleared to track to Bankstown via the Choppers South approach point at 500 ft.

At the same time, an instructor and student of a Piper PA-28-181 aeroplane, registered VH-MJT (MJT), were conducting circuit training on runway 29 left (29 L) at Bankstown Airport. At about 1438, the ADC cleared MJT for the touch-and-go landing.

At about 1439, the pilot of ZVO called at Choppers South at 500 ft and the ADC cleared ZVO to overfly the runways midfield at 500 ft and then join the circuit for a landing at taxiway N1.

As MJT approached the runway threshold, the instructor assessed that they were too high to safely complete the landing and the student therefore commenced a go-around.

As ZVO crossed the airport boundary, the pilot saw MJT in the go-around, at the same height as ZVO, and immediately conducted a left turn to increase separation between the helicopter and the aeroplane.

MJT was about midfield when the instructor sighted ZVO. As the helicopter turned left, the instructor of MJT took control of the aeroplane from the student.

The instructor of MJT estimated that the helicopter was within about 30–50 m horizontally and at the same height as MJT. The pilot of ZVO estimated the aeroplane was about 200 m away, and the ADC estimated the proximity to be about 120 m.

The possibility that an aircraft will go around from an approach should always be considered by ATC and pilots, with respect to the separation of air traffic.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 50

Read report