Lost flight of Virgin Australia jet in a graphic for slow learners
Here is a by the minutes diagram of the Virgin Australia flight that was well and truly lost by Australia’s dangerous and poorly managed air traffic control system.
The Aviation Herald has published a by-the-minute illustrated guide to the most dangerous lapse ever by Airservices Australia on the busy SE traffic corridors when it lost a Virgin Australia 737-800 flying between Sydney and Brisbane on 28 September.
It should be considered alongside the absurd and misleading response by Airservices yesterday in defense of this indefensible state of affairs.
The Virgin Australia flight northwards was ‘inhibited’, meaning no longer under consideration or notice by the ATC system from the point marked in universal time as 21.59 hours and an altitude of 17,900 feet near the bottom of the diagram, and just north of Sydney, to the point marked 22.29 hours and 39,000 feet when it is overhead Evans Head and approaching the Queensland border.
Although Virgin Australia says the flight alerted Airservices to the situation as soon as it became aware of it, it didn’t become aware of it until it was over Evans Head, and had flown unnoticed and without the benefit of air traffic control separation, at peril to itself and other airliners, almost all the way from Sydney to Brisbane.
As characterised by Plane Talking when it broke this story, the 168 seat unsupervised Virgin Australia 737 was in effect turned into a projectile in busy air space because no one knew it was there, and no one in the ATC system followed it or contacted it, until it reminded the system that it had reached its top of descent into Brisbane air space, and no other pilots flying along the same corridors had any knowledge of its presence either.
When an incident like this to occurs in one of the busier air routes on the planet, it is of grave concern to other any airline, foreign or Australian, whose aircraft are exposed to the inadequacies of Airservices Australia in Australian airspace.
The proper administration of Airservices Australia, and its capability to discharge its obligations, is under question. It has been a serial offender when it comes to loss of separation incidents in recent years, and if the latest incident is any guide, it is as incompetent and out of control as ever.