RAF fighter flew within 250 feet of civilian jet
An RAF jet fighter and a civilian aircraft came within just a few hundred feet of each other over Caithness, an official report has revealed.
The risk of collision was placed at the second highest rating – where safety was not assured.
The “worrying” incident in which the Typhoon fighter – which had taken off from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray – flew without a working secondary surveillance radar (SSR) and did not see the Jetstream aircraft, has led to changes by the RAF.
Both planes were blamed for the incident, by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates near-misses.
It said the Typhoon SSR unserviceability meant the Moray-based air traffic controller had no altitude information. The incident happened at 8.25am on June 14 about 27 nautical miles south east of Wick.
The BAE Jetstream 41 pilot saw the Typhoon, “ballooning” in the window in the 9 o’clock position and closing fast.
“The pilot flying deemed a collision was close, disconnected the auto-pilot, and pushed the nose down to increase separation,” said the report.
“Both Captain and First Officer were somewhat unsettled by this event. It was agreed by both pilots that they were within 250 feet – plus or minus 50 feet.”