ASN Aircraft accident Avro RJ85 VH-NJW Perth Airport, WA (PER)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 30 July 2019
Type:Silhouette image of generic RJ85 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro RJ85
Operator:Cobham Aviation Services
Registration: VH-NJW
MSN: E2329
First flight: 1998-06-13 (21 years 2 months)
Engines: 4 Lycoming LF507-1F
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 62
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 66
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Perth Airport, WA (PER) (   Australia)
Phase: Pushback / towing (PBT)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Perth Airport, WA (PER/YPPH), Australia
Destination airport:Granny Smith Airport, WA (YGRS), Australia
The RJ85 aircraft was being prepared for a charter flight from Perth Airport to Granny Smith, Australia. During the pre-flight checks, the flight crew did not identify that there was no pressure in the braking system and did not pressurise this system prior to engine start.
Around the time of the start of the final engine in the starting sequence, the aircraft began to roll forward.
The dispatcher noticed the aircraft rolling and alerted the crew. The crew attempted to use their foot brakes and the park-brake, however, there was no brake pressure. Around 18 seconds after the aircraft started to roll, it collided with movable aircraft stairs, which were in front of the Cobham terminal. The stairs struck the front of the aircraft, beneath the right pilot seat. Shortly after, NJW collided with a bollard in front of a light pole, then with the light pole itself.

Probable Cause:

- The crew did not effectively check the brake system pressure during either the originating checklist or the starting checklist. As a result, the crew did not identify that there was no brake
pressure prior to engine start.
- After engine start, the aircraft inadvertently rolled forward and collided with objects at the edge of the apron. The absence of brake pressure, the slope of the apron and the absence of a nose-wheel chock were contributory to the aircraft rolling forward.
- The operator's dispatch practices did not involve placing chocks on the nose-wheel for engine start. Although some ground handling procedures indicated nose-wheel chocks should be used, the operator’s training did not involve a step to place chocks on aircraft nose-wheels.
The absence of a nose-wheel chock fore of the aircraft reduced the defences against the aircraft rolling forward.
- The crew had a very limited opportunity to take corrective action before the aircraft collided with objects at the edge of the apron. It is likely that the short distance to the edge of the apron and the influence of surprise combined to reduce the crew’s ability to respond.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: ATSB (Australia)
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 184 days (6 months)
Accident number: AO-2019-038
Download report: Final report


Damaged on the ground



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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Perth Airport, WA to Granny Smith Airport, WA as the crow flies is 712 km (445 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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