Two planes came within six metres of crashing into each other, report reveals

Plane stock picture. Picture: PAUL BURNS/CITIZENSIDE

Plane stock picture. Picture: PAUL BURNS/CITIZENSIDE - Credit:

Two planes came close to colliding with each other over land near a disused airfield in Essex, a report has revealed.

Two pilots should share equal responsibility for a near miss between a two planes which came close to colliding over open countryside around five miles from Rayne Hall Farm, experts recommended.

An investigation was carried out by the UK Airprox Board after two aircraft narrowly avoided crashing, despite only being six metres apart.

The Essex PA28 plane and the X-Air Falcon were flying on July 18, 2018, when the incident occurred.

The pilot in the X-Air Falcon assessed the risk of collision as high and reported he was flying towards Earls Colne when a blue, single-engine, low-wing aircraft passed from behind and in close proximity on the right side.

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There were two pilots in the PA28 aircraft at the time but neither saw the other plane flying at about 2,000ft.

The Airprox investigation said a collision had only been avoided “by providence”.

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During the flight the PA28 was conducting a simulated IMC flight, which means pilots fly by referring to instruments instead of outside references.

The report concluded that the PA28 pilot would have been better served by requesting a surveillance-based flight information service, as the left-seat pilot was “under the hood” and “did not have the ability to look out effectively”.

Airprox also said and that the other pilot would also have been monitoring the instruments.

The report concluded: “The Falcon and PA28 pilots shared an equal responsibility for collision avoidance and not to operate in such proximity to other aircraft as to create a collision hazard.

“If the incident geometry is considered as overtaking, then the Falcon pilot had right of way and the PA28 pilot was required to keep out of the way of the other aircraft by altering course to the right.”

The civil aviation authority advice for IMC flights says that a suitably qualified extra crew person is needed to increase lookout.

In assessing the effectiveness of the safety barriers associated with this incident, the Board concluded that the key factors had been situational awareness, action tactical planning and see and avoid.

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