Aviation occurrence briefs

Aircraft preparation issue involving a Boeing 717, at Melbourne Airport, Vic., on 5 February 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 5 February 2018, a Boeing 717-200 was being prepared for a commercial passenger flight from Melbourne, Victoria (Vic.), to Hobart, Tasmania (Tas.). This was the third and final sector for this crew on the day. As the flight crew were programming the standard instrument departure (SID) into the flight management system (FMS), an incorrect runway was selected.

Air traffic control cleared the aircraft to take-off between two aircraft which arrived in close succession. During the initial climb, the flight crew identified the error before any deviations from the SID occurred. The flight crew manually selected the track required by the SID on the auto flight system. The flight crew subsequently corrected the error in the secondary flight plan and selected this plan as the primary plan in the FMS.

During the cruise, the performance figures for both runways were compared. It was determined that a longer runway was used for take-off than had been selected in the flight management system so there was no additional risk of a runway overrun.

Safety message

The ATSB SafetyWatch

This incident highlights the importance of ensuring that the flight management system is programmed correctly for take-off. Ensuring that independent cross-checks are undertaken can reduce the risk that an aircraft attempts to take-off with incorrect performance data. Further information is available from the ATSB research report AR-2009-052, Take-off performance calculation and entry errors: A global perspective.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.


General details
Date: 05 February 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 525 EDT    
Location   (show map): Melbourne Airport    
State: Victoria    
Release Date: 16 May 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer The Boeing Company  
Aircraft model 717-200  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 04 June 2018