Aviation safety investigations & reports

Take-offs without runway lighting involving Embraer ERJ-135, VH-JTG, Tamworth Airport, NSW, on 28 August 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

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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 level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Tamworth Airport    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Navigation - Other  
Release date: 17 January 2017   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

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  
Last update 14 November 2018