An ATSB inquiry of regular air travel interest is being conducted into an unusual type of incident at Avalon Airport near Geelong on 4 July.

In its summary, the safety investigator says:

During the approach, the Airbus A320 was in an unstable configuration and conducted a missed approach which resulted in a loss of separation with a departing Bell 412 helicopter. The controller attempted to maintain a vertical separation but the crew of the A320 could not comply with the initial instructions given by ATC.

The incident occurred in the dark, at 8.30 pm, and the Jetstar flight had originated in Sydney.

The ATSB also says the the inquiry is expected to be completed by September, this year, which is also unusually fast.

The two obvious areas of interest and possibly more are:

1. Why was the A320 being flown in an unstable state toward a landing and when and how and where in relation to the ground was the go-around initiated and when preparing to land which decisions did the crew make, or what requirements already existed, for performing a last moment go-around and did they confirm with control in advance as to what any go-around would involve in terms of overflying the runway and rejoining the approach?

2. Was a helicopter movement approved that would get in the way of a go-around by an airliner? (Is it not a requirement that helicopter movements at airports use approach and departure paths that are quarantined from the approach and departure paths of airliners. They were when I flew occasionally in TV news helicopters many years ago. Has this changed?)

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