Aviation safety investigations & reports

Airspace related event between a Bombadier DHC-8, VH-QOB and Robinson R22, VH-HLY at Cloncurry Aerodrome, Qld on 18 April 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 18 April 2013, a Robinson R22 helicopter registered VH‑HLY (HLY), departed from Cloncurry tracking to the north. At the same time, a Bombardier DHC‑8 aircraft, registered VH‑QOB (QOB), was conducting a scheduled service from Townsville, Queensland to Cloncurry.

The pilot of HLY broadcast his intentions and about 2 minutes later, while taxiing towards the runway intersection he looked ahead and to the left along the main runway in the most common direction of arriving aircraft operations into Cloncurry.

The pilot in command (PIC) of QOB made inbound broadcasts at 30, 10 and 3 NM on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) and conducted a straight-in approach to land on runway 30.

As the helicopter crossed the runway, the pilot realised that he had not heard a response from the aerodrome frequency response unit (AFRU) on the CTAF. Simultaneously, he heard a call from QOB, which was in the landing flare on short final for runway 30, stating that he should get off the runway.

The pilot of HLY then looked to his right and observed QOB on the runway. He realised he had been broadcasting on the ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio, although he could hear calls on the very high frequency (VHF) CTAF.

HLY departed across the runway at about 100 feet. The pilot of HLY estimated that, when QOB had touched down, the distance between the aircraft and HLY was about 1,000 m horizontally. The PIC of QOB estimated that the horizontal separation reduced to about 200 m.

This incident highlights the importance of conducting pre-flight checks thoroughly and maintaining vigilance particularly at non-controlled aerodromes.


Aviation Short investigation Bulletin Issue 21

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 216KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 277KB]
General details
Date: 18 April 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 16:40 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Cloncurry Aerodrome    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 07 August 2013   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Robinson Helicopter Co  
Aircraft model R22  
Aircraft registration VH-HLY  
Serial number 1568  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Cloncurry, Qld  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-QOB  
Serial number 4116  
Operator Sunstate Airlines  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Townsville, Qld  
Destination Cloncurry, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018