Aviation safety investigations & reports

Runway event involving Airbus A320, VH-JQG at Hobart Airport, TAS, 14 December 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 14 December 2012, an Airbus A320 operated on a scheduled passenger flight from Hobart, Tasmania to Melbourne, Victoria, without the runway lights being activated for the taxi and takeoff roll.

Outside tower hours, Hobart Airport operated as a non-towered uncontrolled airport, operating on a common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). When operating as a CTAF, the runway lighting was controlled by a pilot activated lighting (PAL) system that was combined with an aerodrome frequency response unit. Two pilot activated lighting systems exist at Australian airports, Pilot Activated Lighting (PAL) and Aerodrome Frequency Response Unit plus PAL (AFRU+PAL). Hobart Airport is equipped with the ARFU+PAL type installation. The two systems differ in their activation methods.

A number of situational factors were associated with the crew not activating the runway lights prior to departure. Defining a specific place for PAL tasks in the crew’s sequence of procedures, and incorporating this into a pre-taxi checklist, could potentially ensure more reliability in performing these tasks.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin Issue 19



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General details
Date: 14 December 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2327 EsuT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Hobart Airport    
State: Tasmania   Occurrence type: Runway - Other  
Release date: 29 May 2013   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A320  
Aircraft registration VH-JQG  
Serial number 2169  
Operator Jetstar  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Hobart, Tas.  
Destination Melbourne, Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018