Flight in collision risk

A FLIGHT en route to Stornoway last summer was put at risk of collision when it was caught up in the middle of a military exercise.

A report by Airprox, the body responsible for investigating near misses, published their findings this week which criticised the Royal Air Force stating the exercise should have been scrapped once they were made aware of the passenger flight.

RAF Tornados were simulating an attack on the airport last July and were told during planning there were no expected civilian aircraft movements. However the Flybe pilot reported seeing two Tornadeo aircraft coming towards him.

The report stated: “At 1,100ft on the approach, they saw two grey Tornado aircraft straight ahead and coming towards them. He [the pilot] assessed the risk of collision as being high and reported the incident to the Stornoway approach controller.

“Members agreed that since both Tornados had been visual with the Saab, and its pilot saw [both] the Tornados, albeit at a slightly later stage, there had been no risk of collision.

“Having said that, it was agreed unanimously that this had been a needless incident that could have been prevented initially by better planning and communication.

“Accepting these deficiencies, the incident could have been stopped in the air had either the Tornado crew aborted the attack or the approach controller refused the Tornados permission to conduct it as soon as the potential conflict with the airliner became apparent.”