Aviation safety investigations & reports

Separation issue between a Kavanagh Balloons E-300, VH-LPG and freight train 4K26, near Cunderdin Aerodrome, WA on 11 November 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 242KB]

Early on the morning of 11 November 2015, a Watco freight train was travelling southbound on the Frenches to East Northam rail line in Western Australia.

As the train rounded a left corner approximately 3 km north of Northam, the driver saw a hot air balloon. The hot air balloon was low to the ground and inside the rail corridor to the left of the rail tracks.

The train driver applied the brakes in an attempt to stop the train before it reached the balloon’s location. However, there was insufficient distance to bring the train to a stop before it passed the balloon. The driver also sounded the horn to alert the pilot and passengers of the balloon that the train was approaching. The train passed the balloon at slow speed before continuing on its journey.

The balloon had been on an early morning scenic flight in the Avon Valley. The balloon was at the end of the scenic flight and on approach to land in a paddock next to the rail corridor when the train passed. The balloon was just above fence height and moving away from the rail tracks as the train passed.

The balloon operator has since amended their operating procedures to ensure that they will remain clear of rail corridors in future.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 242KB]

Read report

General details
Date: 11 November 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 06:05 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Cunderdin Aerodrome    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Separation issue  
Release date: 13 April 2016   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Kavanagh Balloons  
Aircraft model E-300  
Aircraft registration VH-LPG  
Serial number E300-361  
Type of operation Ballooning  
Sector Balloon  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Boonooloo Farm, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018