Mode of transport
Occurrence ID
AB-2024-002
Brief status
Occurrence date
Report release date
Occurrence category
Aviation occurrence type
Location
Port Lincoln Airport
Injury level
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 22 December 2023, a Bombardier DHC-8 was operating a scheduled passenger flight between Adelaide, South Australia and Port Lincoln, South Australia. During final approach to runway 19,[1] the pilot of a Van’s RV-6 made a broadcast on the Port Lincoln common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF),[2] advising that they were taxiing to runway 15 for a departure.

The crew of the DHC-8 acknowledged the RV-6’s broadcast, relayed their current position, and their intention to backtrack on runway 19 before taxiing to the passenger terminal via runway 15 and taxiway Bravo (Figure 1). The pilot of the RV-6 acknowledged and advised they would hold at the threshold of runway 15 until the DHC-8 was established on taxiway Bravo and clear of runway 15.

Figure 1: Track of DHC-8 and RV-6 at Port Lincoln Airport

Figure 1: Track of DHC-8 and RV-6 at Port Lincoln Airport

The blue track depicts the holding position of the RV-6 and its subsequent take-off roll. The orange track shows the landing and taxi path of the DHC-8 the position held when the crew heard the RV-6 take-off broadcast and their subsequent taxi path to the apron.

Source: Google Earth annotated by ATSB.

After landing, the DHC-8 turned around using the turning node at the end of runway 19. They then backtracked on the runway and as they approached the intersection of runway 19 and 15, the crew heard the pilot of the RV‑6 make a rolling call. The crew of the DHC-8 immediately stopped and advised the RV-6 pilot of their position and requested the RV-6 pilot stop their take-off run. However, the RV-6 continued and became airborne prior to the runway intersection. After the RV‑6 had passed, the crew of the DHC-8 noted that the right side of their aircraft was infringing the gable markers for runway 15.

The pilot of the RV-6 stated that upon reflection, they should have waited for the DHC-8 to backtrack and use runway 15 to exit via taxiway Bravo as originally arranged. They advised that their judgement had been affected due to the build‑up of excessive heat inside the cockpit associated with the aircraft’s bubble canopy.  

Safety message

Runway incursions and other runway separation issues continue to be a significant risk to safe aviation operations and are a key global safety priority. When operating at a non-towered airport, pilots have responsibility for maintaining separation with other aircraft. One of the key ways of doing this is the clear communication of intentions and ensuring that any changes to agreed plans are communicated in advance. This allows involved crews time to assess and, if necessary, revise their operation.

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 safety concerns is reducing the collision risk around non-towered airports.

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.


[1] Runway number: the number represents the magnetic heading for the runway.

[2] A common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF): a designated frequency on which pilots make positional broadcasts when operating in the vicinity of a non-controlled airport or within a broadcast area.

Aircraft Details
Departure point
Adelaide Airport
Destination
Port Lincoln Airport
Model
DHC-8
Sector
Turboprop
Operation type
Part 121 Air transport operations - larger aeroplanes
Damage
Nil
Manufacturer
Bombardier Inc
Aircraft Details
Departure point
Port Lincoln Airport
Destination
Unknown
Model
RV-6
Sector
Piston
Operation type
Part 91 General operating and flight rules
Manufacturer
Vans Aircraft Ltd