Sunday, April 12, 2015

ATSB Final Report Also Released on Near Collision of DHC-2 Beaver VH-AWD and a GA-8 Airvan VH-NOQ Near Hamilton Island Airport

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has also released their final report into a separate incident involving the near collision of an Air Whitsunday De Havilland Beaver VH-AWD and GSL Aviation Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan VH-NOQ, 16km NNE of Hamilton Island Airport on Friday 31 October 2014.

VH-AWD was operating a scenic charter flight from the Hayman Island Water Landing Area, with the pilot broadcasting on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) when passing Pinnacle Point. The broadcast from VH-AWD was heard by the pilot of the Airvan VH-NOQ, which had departed from Shute Harbour Airport for a scenic charter flight. Although he heard the broadcast, the pilot of VH-NOQ did not know where Pinnacle Point was as it was not labelled on the visual terminal chart (VTC).

File photo

File photo

The ATSB found that:  "The pilot of VH-NOQ broadcast on the CTAF after passing Tongue Point and heading south along Whitehaven Beach. The pilot of VH-AWD heard a broadcast on the CTAF, possibly that of the pilot of VH-NOQ at Tongue Point, but did not hear the contents of the broadcast. As he missed the broadcast, the pilot of VH-AWD then broadcast his position and intentions, and did not receive a response.

VH-NOQ tracked to the southern end of Whitehaven Beach, turned and headed north returning to Tongue Point. When just south of Tongue Point for the second time, the pilot of VH-NOQ broadcast on the CTAF and advised that he was changing to Hamilton Island air traffic control (ATC) Tower frequency. The pilot then commenced a left turn, selected the Tower frequency and was no longer monitoring the CTAF.

At about 1.54pm, and at 1300 feet, when approaching Tongue Point from Dumbell Island, the pilot of VH-AWD sighted VH-NOQ on a reciprocal track and estimated the aircraft passed on his right about 50m away and about 50 feet above VH-AWD."

The ATSB recommends that this incident highlights the importance of broadcasting radio calls on, and monitoring, the appropriate frequency, to alert pilots and assist in see-and-avoid practices. It serves as a reminder to keep a good lookout for other aircraft, particularly around high traffic areas and radio frequency zone boundaries.

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