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Federal Police investigating bogus radio calls at Melbourne and Avalon airports

written by australianaviation.com.au | November 8, 2016


A file image of the scene from inside the Melbourne Tullamarine air traffic control tower. (Airservices)
A file image of the scene from inside the Melbourne Tullamarine air traffic control tower. (Airservices)

Federal police are seeking public help to uncover who is behind 15 unauthorised radio transmissions with aircraft and air traffic controllers at Melbourne and Avalon airports.

The Australian Federal Police says it is investigating the rogue radio broadcasts that have occurred at the two airports in recent weeks.

In a joint-statement with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and Airservices, AFP head of crime operations acting assistant commissioner Chris Sheehan said the incidents were being treated “extremely seriously”.

“The AFP, Airservices, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the aviation industry are all committed to ensuring the safety of the travelling public,” Sheehan said in a statement.

“These incidents are being thoroughly investigated by the AFP, with technical support from the ACMA.

“The airlines have been briefed to ensure the advice has been passed on to their pilots and to ensure appropriate measures are in place.”


Sheehan said there were appropriate procedures, processes and systems in place to ensure the safety of aviation operations at airports in Victoria and across the country, as well as air travellers.

Airservices said in the statement that “at no time was safety jeopardised as a result of these calls”, adding that it was working closely with the AFP and the airlines on the matter.

The statement said the person responsible for the unauthorised transmissions faced up to 20 years’ jail.


Anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information can be provided anonymously.

In the audio of one incident obtained by the ABC, someone pretending to be a pilot can be heard telling air traffic control his aircraft has suffered an engine failure.

Another incident involved a flight from Gold Coast to Melbourne where pilots of the aircraft aborted their landing after receiving instructions from someone pretending to be air traffic control.

Comments (5)

  • SeeSure


    It’s a great chance for the Army sigint guys to get some real world practice. No point in asking the feds to do anything, they probably couldn’t understand the problem let alone do some direction finding.

  • Ben


    @ SeeSure – great idea.

    Either way I hope whoever it is is caught. What an absolute idiot – regardless of if safety is being compromised, it’s a stupid thing to do. I put them in the same league as those other idiots that shine the laser pointers at the flight deck windows at night.

  • Paul


    @ SeeSure – Perhaps the RAAF Growlers could also get in some “real world practice”

  • Taurean Lea


    This is an absolute disgrace!!! I believe those who think it is okay to make a bogus call at any airport around not just Australia, but the rest of the world have absolutely no place on this planet. THIS IS BIG UNAUSTRALIANISM AND A BIG TIME WASTING DISGRACE TO THE AVIATION INDUSTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • David P


    What this does show is just how dependant our society is on the good will and common sense of its citizens.

    The equipment to carry out these acts is easily available with out the need to produce any identification or licence. It is highly portable and difficult to locate if mobile.

    The sad thing is that the actor in this case is probably associated with aviation in some capacity.

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