Aviation safety investigations & reports

Separation issue due to runway incursion involving Cessna 172, VH-EKV, and Beech 58, VH-MLB, Alice Springs Airport, NT, on 16 June 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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At about 0738 Central Standard Time, a Cessna 172 aircraft, registered VH-EKV (EKV), taxied to depart from runway 12 at Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory for Ayers Rock. The pilot and two passengers were on board the private flight. The air traffic control Tower was scheduled to open at 0800. The aircraft was located on the general aviation apron and taxied for holding point bravo for runway 12. The pilot of EKV broadcast a taxi call on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF).

At 0741:15, the pilot of a Beech 58 aircraft, registered VH-MLB (MLB), broadcast a taxi call on the CTAF. The aircraft was located on the commuter apron and taxied for holding point echo with the intention of then backtracking on the runway in preparation for a runway 30 departure for Nyirripi. The pilot and two passengers were on board the charter flight.

At 0741:25, the pilot of EKV broadcast that they were lining up on runway 12.

The pilot of MLB reported that they did not hear this broadcast from EKV, nor the earlier broadcast that they were taxiing for runway 12.

The pilot of MLB approached holding point echo and reported looking for other aircraft on either runway (12 or 30). They did not see any other aircraft, so entered the runway and commenced backtracking runway 30.

At about the same time, the pilot of EKV commenced take-off on runway 12. At about take-off speed, the pilot reported observing another aircraft enter the runway and start taxiing on runway 12 (away from them). The pilot assessed that it would be more dangerous to stop, so continued with the take-off.

An air traffic controller arrived in the control tower and observed a Cessna 172 (EKV) taking off and a Beech 58 (MLB) taxiing on the same runway. The controller advised the pilot of EKV to stop immediately.

The pilot of EKV reported not hearing the controller’s advice. The controller reported that EKV was airborne approximately 500 m before the position of MLB and passed overhead MLB at about 150 feet.

The pilot of MLB heard the controller’s advice to another aircraft to stop, but was not aware of the reason.

Both aircraft departed without further incident.

This incident highlights the fundamental importance of effective communication, particularly during operations at a non-controlled aerodrome.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 53

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General details
Date: 16 June 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 07:43 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Alice Springs Aerodrome    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Runway incursion  
Release date: 14 October 2016   Occurrence class: Airspace  
Report status: Final   Occurrence category: Incident  
  Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172L  
Aircraft registration VH-EKV  
Serial number 17260094  
Type of operation Unknown  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Alice Springs, NT  
Destination Ayers Rock, NT  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 58  
Aircraft registration VH-MLB  
Serial number TH-1675  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Alice Springs, NT  
Last update 14 November 2018