Aviation safety investigations & reports

Flight below minimum altitude involving Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave VH-XGW, near Bankstown Aerodrome, New South Wales, on 22 March 2021

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating a flight below minimum altitude involving a Piper PA-31P-350, VH-XGW, on 22 March 2021.

While the aircraft was conducting an instrument approach to Bankstown Aerodrome runway 11C, the aircraft was observed to be tracking south of and parallel to the published instrument approach. ATC notified the aircraft of the tracking error and issued a terrain alert with an instruction that the aircraft conduct the published missed approach. The aircraft responded with a request for a visual approach. On receiving confirmation that the aircraft was visual, ATC issued a visual circling approach. The aircraft was then observed to conduct two low level orbits. ATC issued a second terrain alert. The aircraft subsequently joined the Bankstown circuit and landed on runway 11C.

As part of the investigation, ATSB investigators will examine ATC recordings and interview crew.

A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. 

Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 22 March 2021   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 1450 AEDT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 6.4 km NW of Bankstown Aerodrome   Investigation phase: Evidence collection  
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Flight below minimum altitude  
  Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 3rd Quarter 2021    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-31P-350 Mojave  
Aircraft registration VH-XGW  
Serial number 31P-8414001  
Operator Airmed Australia Pty Ltd  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Dubbo, New South Wales  
Destination Bankstown, New South Wales  
Last update 31 March 2021