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On 15 April 2016, the pilot of a Cessna 172 aircraft, registered VH-VSO (VSO), was conducting a solo navigation training flight from Ballarat to Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton and return to Ballarat, Victoria.

On the same day, two pilots, both instructors, were conducting a local training flight in a Cessna 177RG aircraft, registered VH-OOJ (OOJ), from Ballarat Airport. At about 1648 Eastern Standard Time, while tracking south-east about 12 NM from Ballarat Airport, at about 3,800 ft, the pilot in command, who was the pilot-not-flying and in the left seat, sighted VSO out of the right window about 100 to 200 ft below. The pilot in command then took control of the aircraft from the other pilot and commenced a steep climb. VSO then passed beneath OOJ. Shortly after, the pilots of OOJ heard the pilot of VSO broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency, 10 NM west of Ballarat and inbound to the airport.

The pilot of VSO reported that they could not recall their altitude when about 12 NM west of Ballarat, but would normally be between 3,500 and 4,500 ft on descent. The pilot reported scanning the sky to look out for other aircraft, and maintaining a listening watch on the area and Ballarat common traffic advisory frequencies. The pilot did not hear any broadcasts from the pilots of OOJ and did not observe any aircraft in close proximity during the flight.

This incident highlights the importance of using both un-alerted and alerted see-and-avoid principles and maintaining a vigilant lookout at all times.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 51

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General details
Date: 15 April 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 16:48 EST  
Location   (show map):Ballarat Airport, west 20 km Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Near collision 
Release date: 08 September 2016 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 172S 
Aircraft registration: VH-VSO 
Serial number: 172S10923 
Type of operation: General Aviation-Unknown 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Unknown
Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 177RG 
Aircraft registration: VH-OOJ 
Serial number: 177RG0857 
Type of operation: Flying Training 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
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Last update 18 April 2017