Two aircraft nearly collided at Tongue Point about 16km north north-east of Hamilton Island
Two aircraft nearly collided at Tongue Point about 16km north north-east of Hamilton Island Contributed

Near in-air collision due to flight map confusion

A COMPREHENSIVE list of local places and flight strip abbreviations could help avoid another near-collision.

Two aircrafts taking passengers on a scenic flight over the Whitsundays nearly collided at Tongue Point about 16 kilometres north-north-east of Hamilton Island on October 31 last year.

A pilot of a de Havilland DHC-2, who had taken off from Hayman Island with five passengers, broadcasted on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) when passing Pinnacle Point.

This was heard by a pilot of a Gippsland GA-8 aircraft, which had departed Shute Harbour with four passengers on board.

However, the Gippsland pilot didn't know where Pinnacle Point was as it was not labelled on the Hamilton Island visual terminal chart, as stated in an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report.

The Gippsland GA-8 pilot broadcast his position when he was just south of Tongue Point and said he was changing to the Hamilton Island air traffic control tower frequency and was no longer monitoring CTAF.

About 1.54pm, the de Havilland pilot approached Tongue Point and, while providing commentary to passengers, sighted the other craft on a reciprocal track "about 50 metres (to the right) and about 50 feet above".

Both aircraft were turning left at the time.


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