RAF Marham Tornado in near miss with glider over March, report reveals

A Tornado at RAF Marham, Norfolk. EMN-150312-113311001
A Tornado at RAF Marham, Norfolk. EMN-150312-113311001
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A Tornado pilot from RAF Marham was involved in a near-miss with a paraglider near March, a report has revealed.

An investigation into the incident, which happened last summer, found that both the pilot of the jet and the gilder had failed to see each other in the air.

But the UK Airprox Board report said new measures had been put in place in order to prevent a similar incident happening again.

The report said the Tornado, which was due to be undertaking a flypast at the base, had been circling over March prior to the incident on June 25.

Shortly after the pilot left the area, a paraglider passed down the right side of the plane and was displaced by between 50 and 100 feet.

No evasive action was taken and the glider did not appear on radar, possibly because it was moving too slowly to register on it, the report said.

The pilot of the glider said he had not seen the plane as it approached his position from behind.

Both pilots assessed the risk of collision in the incident as high.

And the report said: “Both pilots shared an equal responsibility for collision avoidance and not to operate in such proximity to other aircraft as to create a collision hazard.

“In their (the board’s) opinion, chance had played a major part in the event, and separation had been reduced to a minimum.”

The report, which emerged today, also revealed the base’s intention to review Tornado simulator procedures to better cover the dangers posed by paragliders and microlights.

Representatives of the March Airfield, where the paraglider had launched from. have also been invited to attend future meetings of the East Anglia Airspace User Working Group (EAAUWG) in an effort to improve operational understanding.

Board members said they were “heartened” by that measure.

They added: “Such opportunities for information exchange and education about each other’s activities provided a real opportunity to help prevent further incidents by enhancing the awareness of all aviation operators in the local area.”

Meanwhile, the airfield said it had also added high-powered strobe lights to its paramotors in order to make them more visible to other aircraft.

They added: “The pilot in question has also followed our initiative with his own paramotor.”