It’s not a birdstrike, but the code name for a very successful emergency response exercise Avisure facilitated on 1 June for the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport (BBGA). The ‘eagle’ in question was an A320-200, which in the emergency response scenario, ‘crashed’ following a rejected take-off, resulting in injury to some of the 180 passengers on board, a collapsed undercarriage and a large fuel spill from the aircraft’s fuel tanks.
The scenario was designed to test, as per civil aviation regulations, the effectiveness of the airport’s emergency response plan, and focused in particular on the plan’s inter-agency response arrangements. The success of the exercise was due in no small part to the enthusiastic commitment of a long list of participants. Avisure and BBGA would like to extend their thanks and appreciation to:
- Airservices Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service
- AusFlight Handling
- Australian Red Cross
- Fire and Rescue NSW
- NSW Ambulance
- NSW Health, Ballina Hospital
- NSW Police
- NSW Rural Fire Service
- NSW State Emergency Service
- MSS Security
- Oceania Aviation
- VIVA Ballina refueller.
for their tremendous support. Volunteers from the SES and NSWRFS can now add another skill to their CVs! Their role-playing as injured passengers was especially convincing, helped by liberal use of moulage (applying mock injuries) as can be seen in these photos from the day.
The full-field exercise was many months in the planning, and according to BBGA Airport Manager, Julie Stewart, was ‘an excellent opportunity for inter-agency stakeholder cooperation. It ensured, in the unlikely event of a real emergency, that everybody is better prepared and coordinated to respond effectively.’
Avisure’s Jill Brix is highly experienced in working with airports to develop, implement and test emergency response plans, and says it’s a part of her role she particularly enjoys because of the magnificent involvement of the emergency response community: ‘they’re such inspirational and professional people to work with’. Feedback in the Exercise debrief from participating agencies was very positive: they agreed that the exercise was ‘fit for purpose’, and said the strength of the exercise was in Jill’s collegiate approach in planning and pre-exercise documentation.