RAF planes ‘seconds away’ from collision with microlight near Wittering

Two RAF planes were seconds away from a collision with a microlight in the skies above Rutland shortly after taking off from RAF Wittering.

Wednesday, 27th November 2019, 3:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th November 2019, 8:51 am
RAF Wittering near Peterborough. Photo: Alan Storer/Peterborough Telegraph

The two Tucano planes had taken off from the Cambridgeshire base on May 30 when the near-miss happened.

The planes were flying over Cottesmore when one of the pilots spotted a red microlight.

A report from the Airprox Board - the organisation which investigates near misses in British airspace - said: “The pilot assessed the risk of collision as ‘High’.”

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The report said: “He (the RAF pilot) watched the microlight continue behind the formation and ensured they were clear of the confliction. He decided not to call an Airprox at that time as they were on low-level common frequency and the Tucano only has one radio. He commented that this event highlights the importance of effective lookout, especially in low-level and during the descent. No other member of the formation was ever visual with the microlight and he opined that had the formation turned a few seconds earlier, one aircraft in the formation would have collided with the microlight.”

The microlight pilot could not be traced.

The Tucano planes were based at RAF Lincoln-on-Ouse and had briefly stopped at RAF Wittering as part of a training flight.