Some Recent AirproxesThese are short and incomplete summaries only. Full reports are available on www.airproxboard.org.uk
14 Aug 2016
5nm NE Woodvale
|THE TUTOR PILOT reports that he had commenced a cruise descent on a SSW heading and, whilst passing about 2200ft, he saw the PA38 between the 10 and 11 o'clock position tracking in a northbound direction, wings level, non-manoeuvring. He made an immediate climbing break-turn manoeuvre to the right in order to gain separation. A TAS conflict was triggered coincidentally with the visual sighting.
THE PA38 PILOT reports that he was flying straight and level north of Southport with a passenger. He suddenly saw an aircraft in the 2 o’clock position. He changed the direction of the aircraft and made a right turn to a avoid collision.
11 September 2016
0.5nm W Guildford
|THE PA28(A) PILOT reports that he was in receipt of a [reduced] Traffic Service from Farnborough West but no Traffic information on the other aircraft was passed. As it was coming straight towards him its profile in his field of vision was small so he did not pick up on it during his scan and did not observe the aircraft until it passed to his left. By the time he saw the other aircraft, avoiding action was not required and was not possible.
THE PA28(B) PILOT reports that he did not see the other aircraft.
THE BOARD discussed the level of service available from Farnborough. Some members opined that the number of ATCOs available during high traffic situations often resulted in a reduced level of service being provided to contributing aircraft and that this resulted in pilots being discouraged from requesting a Traffic Service in the first place. The NATS advisor opined that very often the pilots’ understanding of what this actually means regarding ATCO and pilot responsibilities was perhaps not fully understood by some pilots. The Board agreed that the use of the term ‘reduced’ could be confusing in that the level that the service was reduced to
was not made clear. Members commented that the lookout of both pilots would have been compromised by the head-on aspect of both aircraft but, regardless of the level of ATC service
provided, this incident served as a timely reminder that a robust lookout is paramount and remains the primary means of collision avoidance.
23 September 2016
Clipgate Farm Airstrip
|THE C150 PILOT reports that he was on a solo pleasure flight in excellent weather conditions. He used SafetyCom to broadcast his intentions twice. A few seconds after lifting off he sighted two large military aircraft in his 10 and 11 o’clock at low-level, approximately 300m to 400m ahead tracking North. If he had continued his normal climb-out he considered he would have been in direct conflict with them. As he was no higher than 50ft at the time, his only option was to remain as low as possible on the runway heading until the two aircraft had passed overhead his aircraft. He realises that if he had turned his Transponder on this may have been detected by the other aircraft.
THE C130 PILOT reports he was part of a formation of 2 x C130 conducting a LL training sortie throughout the SE. Shortly after coasting in north of Dover, the lead aircraft pilot saw a small
white light aircraft getting airborne from a small grass strip. The aircraft was still significantly below the formation (approx. 50-100ft agl) and in a shallow climb straight ahead. Both C130's commenced a shallow climb to ensure further separation. Neither C130 had any indications of a TCAS contact and neither C130 crew felt threatened or that this was a particularly close
encounter. The crew said that, in their opinion they were de-conflicted both laterally and by altitude, and the other aircraft’s performance limitations meant he couldn't have got close to them.
THE BOARD began by discussing whether Clipgate Farm strip was marked on military maps. They were informed that it was, and that the C130 crews would have been aware of the
location when they carried out their pre-flight planning. Some members opined that because the site was marked on the charts it would have been prudent for the C130 pilots to have planned to route further away from the site. The Board then looked at the actions of the C150 pilot and agreed that he also had probably seen the C130s as early as could be expected given that the trees surrounding the strip had probably obscured their approach and that keeping his aircraft low until the confliction was resolved was probably the best course of action in order to
resolve the conflict. The Board were heartened to see that he now recognised the wisdom of selecting his transponder on as part of his pre-take-off checks for just this sort of incident.
23 September 2016
NW Bicester Airfield
|THE A109 PILOT reports that as he was remaining clear of Bicester Glider site he was monitoring a Tug/Glider depart. He chose a path between the Tug/Glider combination and Bicester, with him behind and to the Port of the combination. He observed the Tug release from the Glider, roll left and enter a rapid descent across his path. He manoeuvred his aircraft right and up to remain clear of the Tug but was also cognisant of the Glider to his right.
THE LIGHT AIRCRAFT PILOT could not be traced due to initial inconsistencies in the reported timings of the Airprox. No tug or glider pilots reported an incident at that time, and so it is
unlikely that they saw the A109.
THE BOARD began by discussing the actions of the tug pilot as described by the A109 pilot. A
gliding member explained that, on release of the glider, tug pilots are often keen to descend quickly and turn inbound to the launch site both to position expeditiously for the next tug
launch and to enable their aircraft’s engine to cool in the descent due its being operated for a prolonged period at maximum power during the tow. Notwithstanding, the Board opined that it still remained incumbent on the tug pilot to clear his flight path before he turned, and that it was evident that he had not done so sufficiently in this case. Turning next to the actions of the A109 pilot, and mindful that he was visual with the tug/glider combination throughout as it
departed Bicester, members were surprised that he had then chosen to overtake the combination on the left and, bearing in mind the nature of tug operations, had flown between the tug/glider combination and Bicester gliding site. Glider members commented that other pilots would do well to bear in mind that a tug and glider might separate at any time, and that the tug would then likely make a sharp descending turn towards the launch site for the reasons mentioned previously.
12 October 2015
4nm NNE Thornbury VRP
|THE PA28 PILOT reports that he looked up from his map and saw an aircraft in his 10 o’clock position, very close and at the same level. Before he could take control and carry out avoiding action, the aircraft had passed down his left side and then was gone.
THE BULLDOG PILOT reports that he saw the PA28 at a distance of 2nm in excellent visibility. The PA28 was travelling in the opposite direction, slightly low, well displaced. In his opinion there was no risk of collision, the PA28 passed down his left side as he homed into Kemble ATZ. Neither aircraft altered their flight path. He stated that he maintained his course as no alteration of his flight path was deemed necessary as there was absolutely no risk of collision. UKAB note: After a subsequent telephone conversation with the Bulldog pilot it was ascertained that the PA28 the Bulldog pilot saw was probably later in the sortie. In the sighting the Bulldog pilot described he said that he was flying straight and level for quite a while when he saw a PA28 in the opposite direction. This did not correlate with the radar replay, and so the Bulldog pilot and UKAB inspector agreed that he did not see the PA28 in the Airprox incident.
THE BOARD members quickly agreed that the Bulldog pilot had not seen the PA28 and that the PA28 pilot had seen the Bulldog very late, as the aircraft passed; therefore the cause was
assessed as effectively a non-sighting by the PA28 pilot and a non-sighting by the Bulldog pilot.