RAF pilot averts disaster in sky near Doncaster
An RAF fighter jet narrowly avoided colliding with a glider in the air over Doncaster, an official report has revealed.
The supersonic Tornado jet was 13 miles from the town when it was forced to take emergency evasive action.
The jet’s pilot has described the risk of a collision as ‘high’.
An official report to the UK Airprox Board, a panel made up aviation experts who meet to discuss so-called ‘near misses’, revealed the incident.
The report says the jet was flying in formation with another fighter and had just completed an approach at Robin Hood Airport,
It had just been handed over to air traffic controllers at RAF Waddington when the incident happened.
The report said the lead jet pilot saw a glider about 500 to 600ft away from him.
It said: “The lead aircraft issued a directive to the formation to turn hard left and the glider passed down the right hand side of the lead aircraft.
“He assessed the risk of collision as ‘high’.”
Air traffic controllers said they also perceived the severity of the incident as ‘high’.
The pilot climbed his aircraft to 4,500ft to get above the glider. He was diverted through Humberside airspace to avoid any more gliders.
The glider pilot has never been traced.
The UK Airprox Board said both pilots shared an equal responsibilty to avoid a collision.
Additionally the Tornado pilot was required to give way to the glider, which he did, it added.
The report added proactive air traffic controlling, clearing airspace so the Tornado could get to Waddington, coupled with a sound decision from the Tornado crew to fly higher, probably reduced the likelihood of the jets encountering further gliders, which were not showing on the radar.
It added: “The Board gliding members stated that, to be sure of not encountering gliders, pilots need to climb above the cloud base.
“The Board agreed there was little more the controller could have done to prevent the incident because the glider was only showing intermittently on the radar.”
The incident happened in June 2014.
The dangers of mid-air collisions in the skies around Doncaster hit the headlines in 1999, when four people died after an RAF Tornado bomber crashed into a Cessna light aircraft, at Mattersey.
The civilian aircraft came down 300 yards from a primary school, killing both men on board.
One of the two RAF personnel in the Tornado managed to eject from the blazing aircraft after the collision, but both he and the other crew member died.
The Tornado crashed in a ball of flame in fields near the village of Everton, 11 miles from Doncaster.
It had been on a training mission from the Tornado training base at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland.
Jamie Robinson, 36, from Adwick-on-Dearne, and Richard Bowskill, 53, of Wath died in the Cessna, while, Tornado crew Flt Lt Greg Hurst, 35, and Italian Air Force student pilot, Second Lt Matteo Di Carlo, 25, were also killed.