Confusion Preceded ERJ’s Departure from Wrong Intersection

 - November 4, 2013, 2:25 PM

A Virgin Australia Embraer E190 departed Perth Airport from the wrong runway intersection on June 21 this year after confusion between the two pilots. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau reported that while running through the preflight checklist, the captain and first officer discussed which runway intersection they might use. The first officer was the pilot flying, with the captain serving as monitoring pilot.

The captain mentioned the need to depart Runway 3 from intersection Kilo, which led the first officer to believe there was more available runway with this option than a departure from another intersection (Lima), which the investigation showed was not the case. There were also no takeoff distances published for a Kilo departure. The first officer called for taxi to the Kilo intersection but inserted the Lima intersection data into the FMS for departure.

Before beginning the takeoff roll, the first officer verified the aircraft was departing from the correct runway. There was no policy in place to verify the authenticity of the intersection on the runway, and this was not accomplished.

As the aircraft approached V1 during the takeoff roll, the captain remarked that something did not look right, but the takeoff continued. The aircraft lifted off safely, and it was only after departure that both pilots realized they had used the wrong intersection, which offered less available runway than the Lima intersection. The first officer reported he had operated from Perth many times in smaller aircraft and remembered using the Kilo intersection, but did not make the connection before this departure. Although subsequent calculations confirmed the aircraft had sufficient runway for takeoff from Lima, the captain said he did not believe they could have stopped on the hard surface if the departure had been rejected before V1.