Aviation occurrence briefs

Separation issue involving a Diamond DA40 and a de Havilland Canada DHC-1, Warren Reservoir, SA, on 15 September 2019

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 15 September 2019, a Diamond DA40 was operating a dual training flight with an instructor and a student pilot on board from Strathalbyn to Parafield, South Australia. The pilot of a de Havilland Canada DHC-1 was also airborne at the same time after departing Parafield on a private flight.

The crew of the DA40 reported that during cruise at 2,500 ft on track for Dam Wall, they received a TCAS alert on an aircraft directly ahead on a reciprocal heading. Shortly after, the instructor observed the outbound DHC-1 at the same altitude, took control of the aircraft, and turned left to increase separation.

The pilot of the DHC-1 reported that upon leaving Sub Station and setting a course to the east, he saw an aircraft in the distance and perceived it not to be a risk as he judged his track would take him south of the inbound aircraft for Parafield. At the position given by the other pilot, he reported he was on climb to 3,500 ft and would have been clear of any aircraft operating at 2,500 ft.

Both the instructor and student of the DA40 and the pilot of the DHC-1 report monitoring the Adelaide Approach radio frequency and did not hear any radio calls from the other aircraft.

Safety message

This incident highlights the need for pilots to maintain situational awareness and a vigilant lookout at all times. Most aircraft conflicts in uncontrolled airspace are due to ineffective communication between pilots operating in close proximity, the incorrect assessment of other aircraft’s positions and intentions, and relying on the radio as a substitute for an effective visual lookout.

The ATSB’s SafetyWatch highlights broad safety concerns that come out of our investigation findings and from the occurrence data reported to us by industry. One of those priorities is Non-controlled airspace.

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: 15 September 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1120 CST    
Location   (show map): 24 km E of Parafield, South Australia    
State: South Australia    
Release Date: 24 October 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Diamond Aircraft Industries  
Aircraft model DA40  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer de Havilland Canada  
Aircraft model DHC-1  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 24 October 2019