250ft from disaster: RAF jet in near miss with plane
AN RAF fighter jet and a civilian aircraft came within feet of crashing into each other over the Highlands, an official report has found.
The near-miss was disclosed last night after investigators ruled the risk of collision had been ‘high’. The UK Airprox Board blamed ‘multiple contributory factors’, from ‘equipment failures and poor communication’ to ‘distraction and loss of situational awareness’, for the incident above Caithness on June 14.
The Typhoon fighter from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray was found to have no working secondary surveillance radar (SSR) and did not see the BAE Jetstream 41 aircraft.
The lack of SSR meant the Moray-based air traffic controller had no altitude information and there was a lack of traffic information issued to the Typhoon pilot by the military air controller in Swanwick, Hampshire, ‘distracted’ by the lack of SSR.
The Jetstream pilot saw the Typhoon ‘ballooning’ in the window and felt it was closing fast. The report states: ‘The pilot deemed a collision was close, disconnected the auto-pilot and pushed the nose down to increase separation.
‘It was agreed by both pilots that they were within 250ft.’
The Typhoon pilot, on a training flight, was unaware of the near-miss until informed later. The RAF no longer allows Typhoon flights without serviceable SSR other than in exceptional circumstances.