Aviation safety investigations & reports

Near collision involving Piper PA-28, VH-MJT, and Airbus Helicopters EC 130, VH-ZVO, Bankstown Airport, New South Wales, on 20 May 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 20 May 2016, the pilot of an Airbus Helicopters EC 130 T2 helicopter, registered VH-ZVO (ZVO), was conducting a ferry flight from Port Kembla to Bankstown Airport, New South Wales, with an engineer on board. At about 1437 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of ZVO contacted Bankstown aerodrome controller (ADC) and was cleared to track to Bankstown via the Choppers South approach point at 500 ft.

At the same time, an instructor and student of a Piper PA-28-181 aeroplane, registered VH-MJT (MJT), were conducting circuit training on runway 29 left (29 L) at Bankstown Airport. At about 1438, the ADC cleared MJT for the touch-and-go landing.

At about 1439, the pilot of ZVO called at Choppers South at 500 ft and the ADC cleared ZVO to overfly the runways midfield at 500 ft and then join the circuit for a landing at taxiway N1.

As MJT approached the runway threshold, the instructor assessed that they were too high to safely complete the landing and the student therefore commenced a go-around.

As ZVO crossed the airport boundary, the pilot saw MJT in the go-around, at the same height as ZVO, and immediately conducted a left turn to increase separation between the helicopter and the aeroplane.

MJT was about midfield when the instructor sighted ZVO. As the helicopter turned left, the instructor of MJT took control of the aeroplane from the student.

The instructor of MJT estimated that the helicopter was within about 30–50 m horizontally and at the same height as MJT. The pilot of ZVO estimated the aeroplane was about 200 m away, and the ADC estimated the proximity to be about 120 m.

The possibility that an aircraft will go around from an approach should always be considered by ATC and pilots, with respect to the separation of air traffic.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 50

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General details
Date: 20 May 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 14:41 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Bankstown Airport    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Near collision  
Release date: 25 August 2016   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28-181  
Aircraft registration VH-MJT  
Serial number 28-7790256  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Bankstown, NSW  
Destination Bankstown, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Helicopters  
Aircraft model EC 130 T2  
Aircraft registration VH-ZVO  
Serial number 8186  
Type of operation Business  
Sector Helicopter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Port Kembla, NSW  
Destination Bankstown, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018