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On 19 August 2016, a JetGo Australia Embraer EMB-135LR, registered VH-JTG, operated scheduled passenger flight JG65 from Tamworth, New South Wales, to Brisbane, Queensland. At 2104 Eastern Standard Time, the aircraft began to taxi from parking bay 1 to runway 30 right (30R) with the taxiway and runway lights not activated. The captain taxied the aircraft onto the runway and immediately began the take-off run. During the take-off run, at a speed of about 70 knots, the first officer detected the runway lights were not illuminated and activated them using the pilot activated lighting.

On 28 August 2016, the same aircraft operated scheduled passenger flight JG65 from Tamworth to Brisbane. At 1937, the aircraft began to taxi from parking bay 1 to runway 30R. As the aircraft taxied, the runway and taxiway lights extinguished. The flight crew continued to taxi and lined up on runway 30R. The aircraft began the take-off run and departed runway 30R with the runway lights not activated.

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

These incidents demonstrate the impact workload stress can have on operations. The short taxi created a high workload situation which impacted on the flight crews’ ability to detect the extinguished runway lighting.

The incident on the 28 August also highlights the hazards associated with change blindness, inattention blindness and expectation bias.

Change blindness occurs when a person does not notice that something is different about the visual environment relative to before the change. Research has shown that in some cases, quite dramatic changes are not detected, particularly if changes occur when the observer is not looking at the relevant part of the visual environment at the time. In this incident the flight crew did not detect the runway lights extinguish during taxi prior to departure.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 56

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General details
Date: 28 August 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 19:30 EST Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Location   (show map):Tamworth Airport Occurrence type:Navigation - Other 
State: New South Wales Occurrence class: Operational 
Release date: 17 January 2017 Occurrence category: Incident 
Report status: Final Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Embraer-Empresa Brasileira De Aeronautica 
Aircraft model: EMB-135LR 
Aircraft registration: VH-JTG 
Serial number: 145687 
Operator: Jetgo Australia 
Type of operation: Air Transport Low Capacity 
Sector: Jet 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Tamworth, NSW
Destination:Brisbane, Qld
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Last update 18 April 2017