Mystery glider pilot almost downed Typhoon fighters

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A MYSTERY glider pilot came close to downing two of the RAF’s new £65m super jets, a report has revealed.

The Typhoon fighters were flying in formation and had to manoeuvre violently to avoiding hitting the glider, according to the report by air accident investigators.

The pilot of one of the 1,300mph jets reported that the risk of hitting the glider had been “high”.

Incredibly, the glider was flying on the runway approach to RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, and did not have the correct equipment to warn other aircraft of its presence.

According to the report by the UK Airprox Board, which investigates near-misses, the glider pilot has never been traced.

The incident happened in May this year as the Typhoons were returning to base from a routine training mission.

As the aircraft approached the runway, the lead pilot heard his number two shout “bunt, bunt, bunt” – an order to push the stick forward and perform an emergency half loop.

The second pilot had spotted that the lead plane was in danger of hitting a glider just quarter of a mile away.

His emergency call avoided a collision but the aircraft came as close as 70m to hitting the glider.

The report states: “The lead Typhoon pilot did not see the glider at any stage. The pilot assessed the risk as being high.”

It adds: “Despite extensive procedural tracing action the glider could not be identified.”

Air chiefs described the incident as “another event” caused by inappropriately equipped aircraft “flying in inappropriate airspace”. “The see and avoid principles…will continue to break down while [poorly] equipped aircraft continue to fly in busy approach lanes to airfields without contacting the relevant controlling agency,” they added.

The Airprox Board “agreed that soaring in the vicinity of or, as in this case, actually on the approach to a busy airfield is poor airmanship, particularly without making radio contact with them”.

REPORT: Peter Laing

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