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Operating to Malta? - Read This

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Operating to Malta? - Read This

Old 6th May 2007, 15:27
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Operating to Malta? - Read This

About 2 weeks ago, there was an airprox with a KM737 on long final and a light aircraft (I think it may have been an ultralight), allegedly from Italy, with the KM becoming visual and having to break off the approach on sighting the "bandit."
As with these incidents, the truth will out with the report, but I believe it was pretty close, apparently made worse as the small aircraft was either not using or not equipped with a transponder.

Just paxed out on GT today and they had their T/O clearance pulled and had to make a (low speed) RTO due to "an unidentified aircraft" in the area, according to the skipper.

I suspect that the ATC in Malta may be understandably a little "twitchy" following recent events (which received strong local media coverage) and thought I'd share this with any professionals scheduled to operate there, as it may be useful as background info.
Old 6th May 2007, 16:03
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the artical

Here is the artical, and also the Maltese ATC is very good at their work. I just flew over there, and I fly very frequently with no problems. I think it was a mistake done by the ultralight aircraft, since he made another mistake in Italy.

From the Times Malta

Pilot, controllers probed in 'near miss' inquiry
Herman Grech

The Italian pilot involved in a near miss with an Air Malta aircraft over Malta last month could face sanctions after being summoned by the Italian aviation authorities.

The Aero Club of Italy, the body with jurisdiction to impose sanctions, is examining the Italian pilot's position and will take all necessary measures.

This could lead to the eventual suspension or withdrawal of the pilot's certificate, Mimmo Buoncristiani, president of the Italian Federation of Ultralight Aircraft, told The Sunday Times.

"Where our federation is concerned, I can assure you that we have already taken steps to ensure that the pilots are aware of the case in order to avoid a recurrence of similar incidents," Mr Buoncristiani said.

An Air Malta Boeing 737 en route from Rome with around 80 passengers on board came perilously close to colliding with an Ultra-light aircraft on April 21. Both aircraft were flying over the highly populated area of Zebbug and Attard at the time.

The pilot of the Italian registered Ultra-light aircraft had taken off from Gela in Sicily, purportedly to fly on a humanitarian mission to Lampedusa and back. But he landed in Malta as he was short of fuel.

However, questions were raised after the Department of Civil Aviation allowed the Italian pilot to leave Malta just five hours after the incident.

Sources said the light aircraft did not have a transponder and the pilot was calling the control tower on the wrong frequency.

Internet fora also claimed that the Italian pilot did not even communicate his re-entry to Sicily with the Italian Radar Camp, which nearly prompted the emergency measures at the airport.

The local aviation community is reportedly irked at the way the local authorities handled the situation.

"We're expecting a serious independent investigation and not merely a technical one. We need a special board appointed to identify any shortcomings, if there were any," aviation sources said.

In conjunction with the Bureau of Air Accident Investigation, the DCA is carrying out a technical investigation, which incorporates two airline captains.

Sources told The Sunday Times said that all six air traffic controllers on duty that day have been questioned in connection with the incident.

Investigators are also looking into the possibility that the small aircraft appeared on the Malta radar when it was some 25 miles from landing.

However, one traffic controller strongly denied such a claim. Investigations will also examine whether the radar equipment was working well that day.

Communications Minister Censu Galea said yesterday that the Maltese authorities were in touch with their Italian counterparts over the matter.

Mr Galea reiterated that he disagreed with the DCA's decision to release the pilot so early, but he said that the department heads insisted there was no legal basis to detain him.

"We need to gather all the information we have. We need to make sure that there was no shortcoming from our end. But we're also insisting to see what kind of mission this pilot was carrying out. Was this aircraft certified to fly such distances?" the minister asked.
Flying Aggie is offline  
Old 6th May 2007, 16:41
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I have to say that Maltese ATC are first class. Some of the best I have been controlled by.

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Old 7th May 2007, 10:33
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Their training background is inherited from the jolly old RAF who ran the place since the war until only quite recently.
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:52
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I think you'd be hard pushed to call 28 years "recent" (1st April 1979 was the handover).
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