Aviation safety investigations & reports

Depart/app/land wrong runway involving a The Boeing Company 737-376, VH-TJA, Essendon, VIC on 31 March 1994

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft had been cleared to Melbourne via Plenty and Essendon. When it was in the Wonthaggi area it was re-cleared to track direct for an 8 NM final for runway 34 at Melbourne. At about 18 NM from Melbourne, the crew were requested by air traffic control to report when the Melbourne runway was in sight. The crew reported they had that runway in sight and were cleared to track to join final inside 8 NM from Melbourne. The crew requested and were given further track shortening until they were instructed to make a visual approach for runway 34 and to call Melbourne Tower. The Approach Controller then diverted his attention to other duties for a short period. On rechecking the progress of the aircraft it appeared, to him, to be on final for runway 35 at Essendon. The aircraft was at an altitude of approximately 1500 feet. The Approach Controller advised Melbourne Tower who instructed the aircraft to turn left for Melbourne. The aircraft subsequently landed without further incident. The flight crew subsequently advised that when they were given the visual approach they believed they had the Melbourne Airport in sight and its position was confirmed by checking the map displayed on the aircraft flight management computer. However, they had not used any other aircraft navigational systems to confirm their position in relation to Melbourne. The flight management computer was checked and found to be operating normally and no subsequent unserviceability reports have been received. The crew further reported that the weather conditions at the time of the approach were hazy. Significant Factors The following factors were considered relevant to the development of the accident: 1 The aircraft was diverted from the standard inbound track. 2 The weather conditions at the time of the approach were hazy. 3 The flight crew did not follow the standard procedure of using available navigational systems to cross-check the position of the aircraft.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 14KB]
General details
Date: 31 March 1994   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 10:29 EST    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Depart/app/land wrong runway  
Release date: 14 June 1994   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737-376  
Aircraft registration VH-TJA  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Launceston, TAS  
Destination Melbourne, VIC