Aviation occurrence briefs

Near collision involving two Cessna 172, at Mudgee, NSW, on 29 October 2018

Number:
AB-2018-122
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Brief

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 29 October 2018, the pilot of a Cessna 172 was conducting a solo navigation flight from Tamworth, New South Wales (NSW) to Mudgee NSW. On the same day, the pilot of another Cessna 172 was conducting a solo navigation flight to Mudgee, NSW.

At about 1500 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, the pilot of the first 172 was conducting a non-standard left-hand circuit for runway 22 on the dead side[1]. At the same time, the pilot of the second 172 was descending on the dead side of runway 22 with the intension of joining the right-hand crosswind.

The two aircraft came within close proximity of each other, with one aircraft passing under the other, resulting in a vertical separation of 83 feet and approximately 100 metres horizontal distance.

The pilot conducting the left-hand circuit was unware of the local traffic regulations at Mudgee Airport where the standard circuit direction is to the right instead of to the left for runway 22. Both pilots reported broadcasting on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF).

Safety message

This incident highlights the need for pilots to maintain situational awareness and a vigilant lookout at all times. This is especially important when operating at non-controlled aerodromes where pilots are responsible for monitoring and broadcasting their intensions on the CTAF. Research conducted by the ATSB has found that insufficient communication between pilots and breakdown of situational awareness were the most common causes of safety incidents near non-controlled aerodromes.The ATSB SafetyWatch highlights the broad safety concerns that come out of our investigation findings and from the occurrence data reported to us by industry. One of the priorities is Non-controlled airspace.

Additionally, this incident highlights the need for pilots to consult the En Route Supplement Australia when flying to an unfamiliar aerodrome. As illustrated by this incident, not all non-controlled aerodromes follow the same procedures. Being aware of local traffic procedures not only helps to ensure safe operation but also helps pilots to anticipate the likely position of other aircraft.

Further information about operating safely at non-controlled aerodromes can be found on the ATSB website, A pilot's guide to staying safe in the vicinity of non-controlled aerodromes and the CASA website, Operations at non-controlled aerodromes.

The ATSB SafetyWatch highlights the broad safety concerns that come out of our investigation findings and from the occurrence data reported to us by industry. One of the priorities is Non-controlled airspace.

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.

 

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  1. Dead side: The area on the opposite side of the runway to where the circuit is flown.
General details
Date: 29 October 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1500 EDT    
Location   (show map): Mudgee    
State: New South Wales    
Release Date: 21 December 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final    

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Tamworth, NSW  
Destination Mudgee, NSW  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Destination Mudgee, NSW  
Last update 21 December 2018