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Recent Airproxes

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Location and Circumstances 
23 Jul 2015
The PA28 made a traffic call around 10 miles south of  Sturgate advising that he was joining from the south, to join downwind right  for RW27. This involved routing through the centre line for RW27 which he did at 1500ft, 2 miles west of the field. He considered that routing to the south  of the field was not an option due to the Scampton restricted area. A call  was heard on the Sturgate frequency from a departing aircraft calling  ‘rolling’. The PA28 pilot and two other experienced pilots on board looked  out to try and become visual with the departing aircraft. At a point to the  south east of Gainsborough the passenger pilot in the right-hand seat shouted  urgently ‘descend now’, which he did immediately and rapidly and in so doing  saw an aircraft to the right climbing above his aircraft. He continued the  rapid descent to 1000ft, levelled off, and continued the approach to Sturgate as intended without further incident.
The DA40 climbed out of Sturgate on RW27 runway heading, intending to break off climb at about 2000ft. Near top of climb, he lowered the nose for a forward vision check, and the other aircraft was seen left, forward and lower on a converging course. His reaction was to climb  while the other aircraft passed under him. He estimated 200ft vertical  separation.
The Board felt that whilst a left-hand circuit to RW27 was constrained, it was possible as was a right-hand overhead join and felt that, in this case, the downwind right-hand join to RW27 was always  going to involve crossing the active runway centreline and that this was best  done through the crosswind position, where other circuit traffic could better  be seen. The board noted that both the PA28 and the DA40 pilots had had the opportunity to increase their situational awareness by restating their respective positions and intentions explicitly if they were uncertain of each  other’s locations.
30 Jul 2015
The F15 flew down the Llantony Valley at 500agl and followed the planned route up the easternmost valleys of the Black Mountains, marked on the UKLFD chart with a fast jet flow arrow (although this making does not appear on civilian charts). He then executed a ridge crossing at Gospel Pass. He was aware of the glider site on the NW side of the Black Mountains, and addressed the site in his mission planning and brief. Consequently he executed a clearing manoeuvre to the left and was looking west in the direction of the site during the ridge crossing. The glider pilot was ridge soaring in the Black Mountains at ridge-top height. He was flying from one ridge to another, passing over Gospel Pass Valley, when the F15 flew underneath him, crossing right to left, in a south to north direction.  

The Board agreed that this was see-and-avoid airspace where both pilots were entitled to operate. An ATS was not available to either pilot due to height and the terrain, and neither pilot had TAS or FLARM at their disposal. Both pilots were therefore relying on look-out to mitigate the risk of collision. The Board agreed it was a non-sighting by the F15 pilot and, because he hadn’t seen the F15 until it passed underneath him, effectively a non-sighting by the glider pilot.
25 Jun 2015
The Tornado was holding over March prior to undertaking a flypast at Marham. Upon leaving the hold, the para-motor was seen to pass down the right-hand side of the aircraft, at the same level, and displaced by an estimated 50-100ft. Due to the late sighting, no evasive action was taken. The para-motor had foot-launched from UKPPG March and was flying at 1500ft where the air was calmer, heading towards Holbeach. He saw the Tornado pass him in his 10 o’clock, at the same height, and heading as he was. Because it
approached from behind him he hadn’t seen it earlier. Once the Tornado had passed, he prepared for the possibility that wake turbulence may cause the wing to collapse and practised a front reserve chute deployment just in case. Although he felt some minor wash and experienced some minor rocking, the glider was unaffected. He decided to descend to 1000ft and continued his flight to Holbeach.

The incident had occurred in see-and-avoid airspace, where both pilots were entitled to fly, which required good look-out from all pilots concerned. Even though the Tornado pilot was receiving a Traffic Service from Marham ATC, but it was thought that the para-motor would be moving too slowly, and present too weak a radar target, for them to pick it up. It was agreed that it was effectively a non-sighting by the Tornado pilot (because he didn’t see the para-motor in time to take any avoiding action), and a non-sighting by the para-motor pilot (who only saw the Tornado after it had passed by). The Board were heartened to hear that RAF Marham had taken steps to reach out to the UKPPG at March and include them in their EAAUWG activities; such opportunities for information exchange and education about each other’s activities provided a real opportunity to help prevent further incidents by enhancing the awareness of all aviation operators in the local area.
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