Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aircraft separation issues involving Embraer ERJ 190, VH-ZPJ, Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8, VH-XGA, and Gippsland Aeronautics GA10, VHXGY, near Mildura airport, Vic, on 31 May 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 31 May 2016, Virgin Australia Airlines flight VA1615, an Embraer ERJ 190, registered VH-ZPJ (ZPJ), departed Melbourne Airport on a scheduled passenger service to Mildura Airport, Victoria. On board the aircraft were two flight crew, three cabin crew and 81 passengers.

About 40 NM from Mildura and just prior to ZPJ leaving controlled airspace, air traffic control passed the flight crew traffic information about two aircraft operating above 10,000 ft to the west of Mildura Airport. The aircraft were a GippsAero GA10, registered VH-XGY, conducting spin testing supported by a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 ‘chase plane’, registered VH-XGA (XGA), from the same company.

ZPJ joined the Mildura Airport circuit for runway 09. On the base leg of the circuit, the flight crew on board ZPJ heard their traffic collision alert system announce a traffic advisory aural alert. They identified a conflict aircraft to their right and high against the skyline. The conflict aircraft was XGA conducting a straight-in approach to runway 09. Both aircraft conducted a go-around from their respective approaches to runway 09. During the go-around, the traffic collision alert system on ZPJ detected XGA pass about 200 ft above and 0.125 NM behind ZPJ, before XGA diverted onto a southerly track.

Despite compliance with the radio broadcast requirements a traffic conflict occurred in an environment with limited manoeuvring options for a high capacity public transport aircraft. This incident highlights the importance of an alerted search to the successful identification of potential conflict traffic.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 56

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General details
Date: 31 May 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 11:30 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Mildura Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 17 January 2017   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model GA-8  
Aircraft registration VH-XGA  
Serial number GA8-96-03  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Mildura, Vic.  
Destination Mildura, Vic.  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Embraer-Empresa Brasileira De Aeronautica  
Aircraft model ERJ 190-100 IGW  
Aircraft registration VH-ZPJ  
Serial number 19000209  
Operator Virgin Australia  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Melbourne, Vic.  
Destination Mildura, Vic.  

Aircraft 3 details

Aircraft 3 details
Aircraft manufacturer GippsAero  
Aircraft model GA10  
Aircraft registration VH-XGY  
Serial number GA10XAA001  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Mildura Vic.  
Destination Mildura Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018