Aviation safety investigations & reports

ATC information error - VH-BCQ, Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Aerodrome, Queensland, 25 February 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 25 February 2010, a Piper Aircraft Corp Chieftain PA-31-350 aircraft, registered VH-BCQ, was being operated on a charter passenger flight from Mackay to Clermont Aerodrome, Queensland. Unable to land at either Clermont or the planned alternate aerodrome of Mackay due to deteriorating weather conditions, the flight diverted to Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Aerodrome.

The pilot in command requested air traffic services (ATS) to arrange for a person to be on the ground at Proserpine/Whitsunday Aerodrome to ensure that the aerodrome lighting would be on for their arrival. This request was not actioned, but ATS provided the crew with a frequency for the pilot activated lighting system at the aerodrome. However, that frequency was decommissioned 10 days earlier, and a new frequency introduced.

On approach to Proserpine, the flight crew were unable to activate the aerodrome lighting. With critical fuel, and given weather considerations, the flight crew landed the aircraft without runway lighting at around 1957 Eastern Standard Time.

The investigation identified two minor safety issues; one relating to the practices used within the air traffic control group for the effective review and communication of notices to airmen, and the other the risk of out-of-date operational documentation.

The air navigation service provider advised that in response to this occurrence, it will conduct an internal education program to highlight the effect on safety when relevant information is not considered appropriately or reviewed before being provided to pilots.

The incorrect operational documentation has since been updated and the regional council managing Proserpine Aerodrome has instigated safety action relevant to their organisation.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 245KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 209KB]

Safety Issues

Go to AO-2010-012-SI-01 - Go to AO-2010-012-SI-02 -

ATC Group Practices

Practices used within the ATS Group did not ensure that NOTAMs were effectively reviewed and communicated.

Safety issue details
Issue number: AO-2010-012-SI-01
Who it affects: All Airservices Australia air traffic controllers
Status: Adequately addressed

Out of hours Phone Numbers for Proserpine Airport

The Out of Hours telephone numbers for Proserpine Airport, listed in the Jeppesen Airways Manual, were incorrect.

Safety issue details
Issue number: AO-2010-012-SI-02
Who it affects: All operators using Proserpine Airport
Status: Adequately addressed
General details
Date: 25 February 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2000 EST   Investigation level: Systemic - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Aerodrome    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: ANSP info/procedural error  
Release date: 30 November 2010   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-31  
Aircraft registration VH-BCQ  
Serial number 31-7952134  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Mackay Qld  
Destination Clermont Qld  
Last update 03 April 2020