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.
On 31 March 2019 at 1225 Western Standard Time, a Vans RV-7 was on approach to Jandakot Airport, Western Australia. When overhead the airport at 1,500 ft, air traffic control (ATC) instructed the aircraft to join downwind for runway 06L.
As the aircraft turned onto the final approach path, the pilot observed reduced visibility due to haze, dust blowing from earthworks adjacent to runway 12/30 and a large portion of the field being covered in dry grass that blended in with the surrounding landscape.
When at a low altitude, the pilot realised that the aircraft was tracking for taxiway B rather than runway 06L (Figure 1). The pilot observed no other aircraft, vehicles or persons occupying or in close proximity to the taxiway, and given the low altitude, elected to continue to land.
Source: Airservices, annotated by the ATSB
The controller first observed the aircraft was landing on the taxiway as the main landing gear touched down. The controller scanned the taxiway for any potential conflicts, confirmed that it was clear and therefore elected not to issue a go-around instruction.
ATC comments: ‘There is not a huge distance between runway 06L and taxiway B so judging that an aircraft is not lined up with the runway is difficult until the aircraft is in a short final position.’
Pilots are reminded that ATC cannot be solely relied upon to mitigate the risks of misidentification of a runway. Pilots should be aware of the layout of the aerodrome and runways where they are operating, and if pilots encounter reduced visibility or lose situational awareness, it is prudent to request assistance from ATC. In a situation similar to this, a request for ATC to activate the runway lights may have assisted in correctly identifying the active runway. It remains the pilot’s responsibility to correctly identify and confirm they are approaching the correct runway prior to landing.
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.
|Date:||31 March 2019||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Release Date:||13 June 2019||Occurrence category:||Incident|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Vans Aircraft Ltd|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Nil|
|Destination||Jandakot Airport, Western Australia|