Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aircraft loading involving Boeing 737, ZK-TLK, Sydney Airport, NSW, on 17 December 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 15 December 2016, a Boeing 737-476SF (Special Freighter) aircraft, registered ZK-TLK (TLK), conducted a night freight flight from Sydney, New South Wales, to Melbourne, Victoria. On approach to Melbourne Airport, the captain noted the aircraft nose attitude appeared to be too high and airspeed appeared to be too low for that phase of flight. After landing at Melbourne Airport, the captain was notified that a loading error had occurred at Sydney Airport.

On the evening of the incident, two 737 freighter aircraft, operated by the same freight company, with the same paint scheme, were conducting freight flights into and out of Sydney Airport. The aircraft were parked next to each other on arrival at Sydney. The planned loads for the aircraft were distributed into containerised and non-containerised freight. The containerised freight was loaded into the upper compartments of the aircraft, but the non-containerised freight, which was loaded into the lower compartments, was inadvertently swapped between the two aircraft.

As a result of this occurrence, the loading supervisor introduced an independent cross-check of the loading of the lower compartment freight against the load instruction report.

This incident highlights the risk associated with a single source of error propagating through a safety critical process.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 59

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[Download  PDF: 119KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 252KB]

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General details
Date: 17 December 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 11:00 ESuT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Sydney Airport    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Loading related  
Release date: 27 April 2017   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 737-476SF  
Aircraft registration ZK-TLK  
Serial number 24434  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Melbourne, Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018