Some Recent AirproxesThese are short and incomplete. Full reports on www.airproxboard.org
29 November 2016
2nm N Horncastle
|THE CHIPMUNK PILOT reports that he was in the climb on a Chipmunk conversion sortie when the PFLARM alarm sounded. He looked over the handling pilot's shoulder to see that the system had entered "RWR" mode which means there is an imminent threat of collision. The indication was in the 12 o'clock high at 0.9nm closing. He advised the handling pilot to level off. He then spotted a helicopter at ¼nm in his 12:30 about 200ft above. He entered a left turn to further break the collision. The helicopter passed down the right-hand side and gave no indication that it had seen them. This occurred at approximately 1433:40L. He was under a Traffic Service and asked ATC if they had seen the traffic, they reported that their work load was high so had not seen the potential collision. Had the PFLARM alarm not alerted him to the helicopter he believes that the chance of collision would have been exceptionally high.
THE EC145 PILOT did not submit a report.
THE BOARD began their discussions by looking at the circumstances relating to the Coningsby controller’s workload. A military member commented that, as a result of this incident, Coningsby had identified the need to identify when a controller is reaching capacity, and have introduced a system to prevent a recurrence by stipulating a maximum number of speaking units [aircraft] a controller will work before the Supervisor will open another console or instigate other methods to contain or reduce the traffic levels. The Board then considered the cause and risk of the incident. Members quickly agreed that the Chipmunk pilot had seen the EC145 late, and that the EC145 pilot had probably not seen the Chipmunk at all. However, the majority view was that although safety had been degraded, the Chipmunk pilot’s level off after receiving the PFLARM warning, and then a left turn, had amounted to timely and effective controlled actions.
29 Nov 2016
|THE CHINOOK PILOT reports that he was returning to base from a training exercise over the Isle of Wight. On approaching Spinnaker Tower from the South, TAS indicated 2 x Traffic Advisory and 1 x Proximate Traffic, whilst simultaneously Solent Radar warned of multiple aircraft in the vicinity, possibly inbound to Lee-on-Solent. Both TAs were quickly identified visually however the closest aircraft’s orientation was difficult to establish given into sun visibility. Once clear that this aircraft was maintaining a conflicting track, the Chinook was turned left to avoid. The opposing aircraft was then also observed to make a left turn away. The TAS TA was at approximately 1.5nm, and the aircraft was first observed at approximately 400m.
THE PIPER PA28 CHEROKEE PILOT reports that he was on a cross-country flight. The Chinook appeared quite suddenly in a descending attitude, routeing towards the coast. He turned left onto track to maintain visual contact with the traffic. No radio contact was heard or received from Solent Radar.
THE BOARD Members acknowledged that because both pilots were operating in Class G airspace it was ultimately their responsibility to ‘see and avoid’ each other. It was apparent that the Chinook pilot, although receiving a TA at 1.5nm, had only seen the PA28 late, at 400m. As for the PA28 pilot, it was opined that in having reported sighting the Chinook ‘quite suddenly’ as it was turning away, he had probably only seen the Chinook after CPA. Accordingly, it was agreed that the cause of the Airprox was a late sighting by the Chinook pilot and effectively a non-sighting by the PA28 pilot.
5 Dec 2016
|THE DA42 PILOT reports that he had just completed the NDB procedure for RW09 [UKAB note: there is no RW09, this is the NDB 099° procedure]. The missed approach instructions were to track back to the Compton VOR climbing to an altitude of 2500ft. On passing the MAP, he initiated the go around and was informed about circuit traffic at 11 o’clock, that was continuing downwind for a visual circuit RW01. He decided to maintain MDA of 800ft until he had passed underneath the conflicting traffic. Had the missed approach been continued he believed he would have collided with the other aircraft.
THE PA28 PILOT reports that he was given permission to take off on RW01 with a RH turn out onto a heading of 180°. At the time he was not aware that ATC had also cleared an aircraft to conduct an NDB approach to ‘RW09’. He continued in accordance with his ATC clearance, climbing straight ahead to 1000ft before turning on course, he was established on the downwind leg when he saw the other aircraft behind him, to his left.
THE BOARD first looked at the actions of the DA42 pilot. He had been cleared for his NBD approach to the airfield and was understandably surprised when he realised he wouldn’t be able to carry out his missed approach as he had intended. The Board considered that his actions in holding down his height to allow the PA28 to depart downwind, prevented the incident from being much worse, and they commended him for his situational awareness. the Board quickly agreed that Oxford ATC had not integrated the DA42 and PA28 in the visual circuit, but thought that there were contributory factors in that: the OJTI had not sufficiently mentored the trainee, or discussed the likely conflict scenario; and that the Oxford MATS Part 2 did not provide adequate guidance for integration of the NDB/DME 099 approach with visual circuit traffic.
2 Dec 2016
|THE TUTOR PILOT reports that his aircraft was being flown by the student and they were conducting an SRA to land at Cranwell. They were at 1200ft QFE and, as the aircraft turned onto 360° for baseleg, the instructor noticed a paraglider passing directly underneath the port wing, estimated to be 100- 200ft below. The incident was reported to Cranwell ATC on the RT.
THE PARAGLIDER PILOT could not be traced.
THE BOARD looked at the actions of the Tutor pilot, he was operating in accordance within normal Cranwell procedures and as such other airspace users could expect to see Tutors at that height. Noting that the pilot estimated that the paramotor was only 100-200ft below him, the Board wondered why he had not seen it earlier. In this respect, members opined that the student, who was presumably on the left of the cockpit (and therefore with best opportunity to see the paramotor), would have been concentrating on his instruments, whilst the instructor, on the right, would probably have been obscured to the paramotor by the aircraft’s canopy and coaming. Nevertheless, members highlighted that his incident served as a reminder for those acting as safety pilots during simulated IF sorties that robust lookout must be maintained at all times for just such eventualities.
11 Dec 2016
|THE R44 PILOT reports that he was approaching Gunnersbury Park, descending through 900ft for 800ft for the heli-lanes. Initially they saw what was believed to be a bird ahead, moving right to left and not seen to be a threat. Then it stopped and appeared to be moving directly towards them, at this point they could see it was a drone and so they took evasive action to the right and passed within 15-20ft of it. It was a medium sized, black drone with four rotors.
THE DRONE OPERATOR could not be traced.
THE BOARD noted that the drone was operating at about 900ft and therefore close to the limits of practical VLOS conditions. Based on the pilot’s report that the drone stopped and flew towards the R44, the Board considered that the drone operator had endangered the R44 and its occupants. Therefore, in assessing the cause, the Board agreed that the drone had been flown into conflict with the R44.