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Mid-air scare prompts calls for change

A near-miss between two planes near Mt Hotham has prompted calls for an immediate change to airspace regulation.

Currently, airspace above 18,000 feet is uncontrolled, leaving to pilots to communicate between themselves in a ‘1930s’ way.

Former Chair of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Dick Smith told Neil Mitchell the incident could have left 18 people dead. 

‘If the changes of 15 years ago came in, that would have been controlled airspace, and the planes would have been separated using radar,’ Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said it was ‘criminal’ that the people in charge appeared to be waiting until there was a major accident.

‘There’s absolutely no leadership,’ Mr Smith said.

‘Presumably we wait to kill 20 or 30 people, then there’s a Royal Commission, and then they make the changes.’

LISTEN: Dick Smith tells Neil Mitchell aviation standards need to change