Aviation occurrence briefs

Flight below lowest safe altitude involving Piper PA-44, Perth, WA, on 30 August 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 30 August 2018, a Piper Seminole departed Jandakot, Western Australia on a dual IFR training flight.

During an ILS approach to Perth runway 24, the crew became visual at 1,800 ft and reported visual to tower. The crew were issued missed approach instructions to turn left 080 and climb to 2,500 ft visual. At the missed approach point, the crew initiated the missed approach under simulated asymmetric conditions and the instructor restored power to the engines once established in the climb. During the climb, the crew contacted the approach controller who issued an amended visual heading. The instructor then replied not visual to the approach controller who sought to confirm that the aircraft was in cloud, to which the instructor replied yes. The controller then, with the belief that the aircraft was in cloud below the minimum vector altitude, instructed the crew to climb at best rate to 2,800 ft which the crew complied with.

The pilot later reported that the crew were visual at the time they reported not visual, however were unable to maintain visual with the current clearance. As a result, the crew were instructed to climb above the minimum vector altitude of 2,500 ft in Instrument Metrological Conditions (IMC).

Following the incident, the operator advises that an investigation was undertaken and the pilot in command was interviewed and de-briefed.

Safety message

Pilots are responsible to inform ATC if they are unable to comply with a clearance. Doing so early will give more time for a controller to issue an alternative clearance.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.


General details
Date: 30 August 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0903 WST    
Location   (show map): Perth    
State: Western Australia    
Release Date: 20 December 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-44-180  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Destination Perth, WA  
Last update 20 December 2018