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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4590

Mr Charles Jones asked the Minister representing the Minister for Civil Aviation, on notice:

(1)   Was it stated in the Accident Investigation Report DC8-63 aircraft CF-CPQ and Boeing 727 aircraft VH-TJA at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport, New South Wales on 29th January 1971 in conclusion No. 7 on page 36 that the flight crew of TJA state that at the commencement of their take-off, they did not observe CF-CPQ on the runway as an obstruction, that nevertheless CF-CPQ was observed at a time when the take-off could have been abandoned with safety, and that the pilot-in-command of VH-TJA elected to continue the take-off and attempted to over-fly the obstructing aircraft.

(2)   If so, can the Minister state on what grounds the conclusion that the pilot-in-command of VH-TJA could have safely abandoned the takeoff was arrived at.

Mr Swartz - The Minister for Civil Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   The final paragraph of section 2.1 on page 22 of the Accident Investigation Report described the basic performance calculations which led the Air Safety investigation Branch to conclude that the take-off could have been safely abandoned at least from the point where it has been established that the pilot-in-command of VH-TJA has already recognised the existence of an obstruction on the runway using the data produced under the supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S.A. by the aircraft manufacture forther purpose of proving its performance capacity for certification purposes it has been calculated that, from the point on the runway where the Captain of VH- TJ A said 'How far ahead is he' the aircraft could have been brought it a halt at a point some 2,140 feet short of the position on the runway of the nose of CF-CPQ at the time of the collision. This calculation adopts reaction delays proposed by the manufacturer and accepted by F.A.A. as being valid for airline pilots. It also makes due allowance for the conditions of gross weight, air temperature, runway slope and headwind component experienced by VH-TJA on the night of this take-off. Nevertheless, at the time this type of aircraft received its certificate of approval, there was no F.A.A. requirements for evaluation of stopping distance on wet runways and so there is no basic data upon which an entirely reliable allowance for extension of the stopping distance under wet runway conditions could be made. Performance data under wet runway conditions is available however, in respect of the Boeing 727-200 series aircraft recently certificated in the' U.S.A. and for which our domestic airlines are currently seeking Government approval to introduce into this country towards the end of 1972. This data has been studied and. so far as the stopping performance of a Boeing 727-200 series aircraft can be considered relevant to the ability of VH-TJA to stop, if indicates that the extension of stopping distance under wet runway conditions would have been of the order of 1,250 ft. Thus it can be said with confidence that the calculation that the aircraft could have been stopped 2,140 ft short of the obstructing aircraft under dry runway conditions, contains more than an adequate margin to account for any extension of the stopping distance under wet runway conditions. These are the principal grounds on which it was concluded that the take-off could have been safely abandoned.

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