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Fighter jets in near-miss with glider near RAF Lakenheath

PUBLISHED: 08:33 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:43 11 March 2019

Two F-15 fighter jets from RAF Lakenheath were involved in the near miss with a glider. Pictures: GREGG BROWN

Two F-15 fighter jets from RAF Lakenheath were involved in the near miss with a glider. Pictures: GREGG BROWN

Two fighter jets narrowly missed a glider taking part in a contest in Suffolk last year, a report has revealed.

The F-15 Eagle fighter jets were flying in formation on a visual recovery mission to RAF Lakenheath on August 14 last year when one pilot saw a glider below.

Risks of collision were deemed high by the pilots, who at one point flew only 100ft above the glider, which had made a sharp right turn.

An emergency levelling off procedure was directed by the formation’s lead pilot which saw them clear of the glider.

The pilot of the Duo Discus glider reported that he was participating in a gliding competition and that there was “adequate separation” between him and the jets.

He assessed the risk of collision as “low”, sparking Air Accidents Investigation Branch panel members assessing the case to “wonder whether he had a particularly robust approach to the risks of fastjets flying so close by”.

The local gliding club has since agreed to give notice to aviation authorities when competitions involve more than 20 aircraft.

This is not the first example of near misses around the airspace, with pilots at RAF Lakenheath were advised to keep their windows clean after a string of 19 similar incidents between 2012 and 2017.

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