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Airproxes

These are short and incomplete summaries only. Full reports are available on www.airproxboard.org.uk

Report Number
Date
A/C A
A/C B
Location

 
2016134
16 July 2016
ASK13
TB20
Burn
THE ASK13 PILOT reports that he had just winch-launched to 1500ft and was heading 250° in a slow descent. He was just over the A19 at the village of Burn when a maroon and white, low-wing light-aircraft was observed below and to his right, heading south. It passed in front and just below his position, moving quickly from right to left. He was concerned that having just released the winch cable, the aircraft was close to the wire launching area. Observers on the ground at the launch point reported that the aircraft had not been seen or heard before the launch commenced.

THE TB20 PILOT chose not to file a report.

THE BOARD noted that the TB20 pilot was required to conform with or avoid the pattern of traffic formed by other aircraft in operation and therefore good airmanship dictated that he should have allowed sufficient margin for aircraft operating from the glider site. The members noted that, ultimately, the ASK13 pilot's look-out had been successful, in that he had seen the TB20 with enough time to assess that avoiding action was not necessary. The board also noted that the glider site was clearly marked on the chart, and to fly so close below the promulgated
winch-launch height demonstrated either a lack of pre-flight planning or questionable situational awareness and airmanship. 
2016145
22 July 2016
MD900
PA23
2nm E of Shanklin
THE MD900 EXPLORER PILOT reports that he was in receipt of a Basic Service from Solent Radar and had recently been in communication with Lee Radio informing them of position, track, height and destination. Approximately 3nm south-west of Lee-on-Solent at 1000ft on QNH. A low-winged twin-engined aeroplane was seen late, at 0.25nm, closing rapidly from the 9 o'clock position. He initiated an immediate descending right turn away from the approaching aircraft

THE PIPER PA23 AZTEC PILOT reports that he departed Lee-on-Solent after receipt of confirmation from Lee Radio of no known traffic. In the immediate climb-out before initiation of a turn on track, he received a TA and observed rotary traffic crossing right to left, above and descending. Avoiding action was taken but no immediate collision risk was considered to have existed.

THE BOARD noted that the MD900 pilot was in receipt of a Basic Service and the radar recordings show that the PA23 was not displaying on the radar at the time of the Airprox. Consequently, although there was no requirement for the Solent controller to pass Traffic Information, it would not have been possible anyway because he would not have been able to see the conflicting traffic. The Board noted that the MD900 pilot reported that he had seen the PA23 late, at 0.25nm, closing rapidly from his 9 o’clock position. The PA23 pilot only saw the MD900 when he received a TA from his TCAS1 equipment which, using associated TCAS algorithms, would have been likely to have occurred at about 1-1.5nm. Consequently, it was quickly agreed that the Airprox had occurred because of a late sighting by both pilots. Nevertheless, although both pilots had seen the other aircraft late, members agreed that they
had both taken appropriate avoiding action to prevent a risk of a collision.
2016150
27 July 2016
Pegasus Oscar
Typhoon
Foston Microlight Site
THE PEGASUS QUASAR PILOT reports that after giving blind calls to both RAF Cranwell and RAF Waddington as to his intentions he applied full power to climb out and, as he was about to rotate, a very fast-moving grey coloured Typhoon Jet appeared to his left and passed to his right at approximately 100-200 feet exactly in line with what would have been his climb-out over the end of the runway. He immediately took averting action by shutting off power and pulling his bar in; luckily, there was enough runway remaining for him to stop safely, although he still felt the Typhoon through the airframe on the ground so he suspected it was travelling at considerable speed. He endeavoured to report the incident to Cranwell but they were closed so he reported the incident to the low-flying cell.

THE TYPHOON PILOT reports that he was unaware of any occurrence until contacted by the Station Safety Cell. The sortie was appropriately planned, briefed and authorised, and the routing placed on CADS1 [UKAB Note: in fact few civilian users have access to CADS due to operational reasons, those that do are effectively limited to PINS, NPAS and HEMS operators]. The Foston Site itself is not marked as an airfield on either the military or civilian-produced charts. Subsequent analysis showed that the Typhoon had overflown the unmarked microlight site at approximately 300ft agl and 420kts.

THE BOARD agreed that, unfortunately, the methods employed by the Pegasus pilot to inform local aerodromes of his presence, whilst commendable in their intent, would have been unlikely to have had much effect. Aircraft on the ground making blind calls are rarely heard by local ATC units even when they are manned and operating and commented that a better approach would have been to contact the MOD Low Level Advisory Service who would then be able to tell him of any planned activity through his area so that he could then arrange his flight to avoid these times .
2016151
26 July 2016
AW 139
Spitfire
Portsmouth Harbour
THE AW139 PILOT reports that he was on a tasking in Portsmouth Harbour and accelerating to 140kts when a rear crew member spotted a Spitfire heading from the north on a collision course. He took avoiding action by turning steeply right but the Spitfire appeared to gently turn towards him. The AW139 pilot tightened his turn and descended. After carrying out a 360° turn he continued on task and the Spitfire was last seen heading SE.

THE SPITFIRE PILOT could not be traced.

THE BOARD noted that although the AW139 had shown clearly on the NATS radars, there was no sign of the Spitfire in that location, nor did it ‘pop-up’ to the south-east of the helicopter later. As a result, it had not been possible to trace the pilot, and some members wondered whether the Spitfire could have been a model or a 75% replica with limited reflective radar cross-section (of which there was known to be a few that flew in the area). Assuming that the Spitfire was not a model, both pilots were entitled to operated in this Class G airspace and, although the Spitfire pilot was required to give way to the AW139 on his right, the AW139 did not have priority over other traffic simply as a result of its Coastguard SAR duties. Therefore, they concluded that see-and-avoid was the only barrier available to the AW139 pilot, which, through commendable crew team-work, had succeeded in allowing the pilot to take effective avoiding action. The Board concluded that the cause of the Airprox was a late sighting by the AW139 crew, and a probable non-sighting by the Spitfire pilot.
2016153
25 July 2016
Squirrel
PA38
Lower Hordley
THE SQUIRREL PILOT reports that the aircraft was positioned by the QHI for a demonstration autorotation. At around 400' into the descent, the QHI and the student both spotted the other aircraft at the same time in the 1 o’clock position, slightly high, at an estimated 100m. The QHI elected to maintain the flight path in autorotation as the safest option. The Airprox was reported to ATC.

THE PA38 PILOT reports that he was a student pilot on the second leg of a navigation exercise. Shortly after setting heading, and in the cruise at he saw the helicopter in his 10 o’clock in a descent to pass below him, there was no information heard on the radio.

THE PA38 PILOT INSTUCTOR reports that the student did not report the incident on return because he felt the Squirrel pilot had avoided him by descending and that he had right of way. The instructor has reinforced the requirement to report such incidents as this on return to the club and the importance of good lookout at all times.

THE BOARD noted that the later than ideal sighting by the Squirrel pilots being acknowledged, members agreed that because the Squirrel was already descending in a practice autorotation manoeuvre, the pilot’s decision to continue the descent and avoid the PA38 vertically was the most sensible option. Considering the PA38 pilot and mindful that he was a solo student pilot, some members felt that he had probably seen the Squirrel late also, and had had little time to react. If this had been the case then this may then have resulted in the PA38 pilot’s impression that the Squirrel was descending to avoid him as it gave way. The Board agreed, although they reinforced the warning about not assuming that the other pilot had seen you even if they were required to give way. The Board were grateful to the instructor for highlighting to the student the need to report such instances, but also reflected on the need to do so at the time on the radio so that ATC and other pilots who might have been involved were aware and able to record relevant details.


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