Sunday, October 12, 2014

Virgin plane and light aircraft in close call over Gold Coast airport

A Virgin Australia plane was directed to take last minute evasive action while coming into land at Gold Coast airport this morning to avoid a light aircraft.

Beachgoers at Bilinga watched in amazement as the Boeing 737 flying in from Sydney took a sharp turn just as it was about to land around 9.15am AEST, at the same time as a tiny Cessna appeared in view.

Parents watching their children enjoy nippers at nearby Bilinga club told The Courier-Mail a Virgin Australia jet coming in to land from the south pulled out at the last minute and roared over the beach.

“It peeled towards the beach a few hundred metres above houses and then we saw a smaller aircraft taking off,” a witness said.

“The bigger jet was flying really low and fast.

“Everyone was talking about it. It looked like if the Virgin plane had not pulled out there could have been a big problem. They were very close to each other.”

Light radar images show the Virgin Australia aircraft flying in to land and then turning sharply at the last moment as a small aircraft takes off from Coolangatta.

The Virgin flight then performed a loop before landing without incident behind a Qantas aircraft.

No flight report was lodged by the pilot at the Gold Coast.

A Virgin Australia spokesman confirmed the flight from Sydney was directed to complete a “go around procedure” because an aircraft on the runway was taking longer than expected to take off.

“The aircraft completed the manouvre and landed ahead of schedule,” he said.

Boeing 737-800s generally carry up to 189 passengers.

An Air Services Australia spokeswoman confirmed the incident was not as serious as it may have appeared.

“They were potentially going to come a little bit too close so a procedural assurance was given,” said the spokeswoman.

“There was never any danger to anyone and no loss of separation.”

She said loss of separation assurances were commonplace in Australian aviation and generally of no concern.

Originally published as Beachgoers watch near plane collision 

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