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On 22 September 2016, at about 1000 Central Standard Time, a Cessna 210M aircraft, registered VH-SQT (SQT), departed Jabiru Airport, Northern Territory (NT), for a scenic charter flight with the pilot and four passengers on board. The aircraft followed the scenic route ‘Charlie’ in the fly neighbourly agreement (FNA) promulgated by Parks Australia.

At about 1025, a Gippsland Aeronautics GA8 aircraft, registered VH-KNB (KNB), departed Jabiru Airport for a scenic charter flight to Cooinda Airport, NT, with the pilot and three passengers on board. KNB was following route ‘Delta’ in the FNA. The pilot of KNB broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) when departing Jabiru. The pilot of SQT heard this call but did not respond. KNB then tracked south via Lightning Dreaming.

After overflying Jim Jim Falls, the pilot of SQT broadcast on the CTAF that they were departing Jim Jim and tracking for Double Falls (about 10 NM north-east) at 1,500 ft, and did not receive a response. The pilot of KNB did not hear that call.

After orbiting Double Falls in a left turn, the pilot of SQT rolled the wings level. Just as they did so, the pilot of SQT sighted KNB pass within about 20 m horizontally to their left, and about 30 ft above SQT. The pilot of KNB did not see SQT at any time.

A search for other traffic is eight times more effective when a radio is used in combination with a visual lookout than when no radio is used. In areas outside controlled airspace, it is the pilot’s responsibility to maintain separation with other aircraft. For this, it is important that pilots use both alerted and un-alerted see-and-avoid principles.


Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 55

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General details
Date: 22 September 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 10:45 CST  
Location   (show map):Jabiru Aerodrome, S 49 km (Double Falls) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory Occurrence type: Near collision 
Release date: 14 December 2016 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 210M 
Aircraft registration: VH-SQT 
Serial number: 21062874 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Jabiru, NT
Destination:Jabiru, NT
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd 
Aircraft model: GA8 
Aircraft registration: VH-KNB 
Serial number: GA8-07-109 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Jabiru, NT
Destination:Cooinda, NT
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Last update 14 November 2018