Final Report


On 7 June 2016, at 0418 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of a Fairchild SA227-DC, registered VH-HPE (HPE), departed Brisbane Airport, Queensland (Qld), for a flight to Mount Isa, Qld. The flight included intermediate stops at Rockhampton and Richmond. The pilot was the only person on board the scheduled freight flight.

Prior to commencing the flight, the pilot reviewed the weather and NOTAM information. The pilot noted there was no NOTAM information for Richmond Airport for the expected arrival time.

At about 0800, the aerodrome reporting officer (ARO) arrived at Richmond Airport with a work crew to undertake pre-planned work. The planned work intended to remove plant growth from around the runway lights. The ARO did not have a VHF radio in their vehicle and they were the only person qualified to broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) used by aircraft that uses VHF. All other works vehicles carried UHF radios. The work crew then undertook the required task in three groups. One group positioned at the eastern end of the runway and a second group at the western end of the runway while the ARO remained at a mid-point along the runway.

The pilot of HPE broadcast on the Richmond CTAF advising they were 40 NM to the east and conducting a straight-in approach to runway 27. The pilot received a full response from the aerodrome frequency response unit (AFRU). The pilot then activated the pilot activated lighting. The workers in the groups at each end of the runway observed the lights illuminating and immediately began to vacate the runway strip. The pilot made a further broadcast when 20 NM east of Richmond, and received only a short response from the AFRU.

As HPE approached the runway, the pilot reported that they noticed vehicles and equipment at the far end of the runway and witches hats along the edge of the bitumen. As the vehicles and equipment moved clear of the runway strip, the pilot continued the approach. At a height of about 100-200 ft above ground level, the pilot reported that they observed a person inside the runway strip near the bitumen of the runway and conducted a go-around.

No persons were injured and the aircraft was not damaged in the incident.

This incident shows the importance of communication and ensuring that the systems exist and are used to minimise the likelihood of communication break downs. Effective communication between all parts of the aviation system, along with robust systems in place to support the individuals, is essential for safe operations.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 53

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