Spitfire In Near Miss With Chinook

Posted on November 21, 2018

On July 9, the pilot of the Chinook reported he was transitioning to hover over the runway, having been given clearance to land, when his co-pilot called out “Vacate immediately,” or words to that effect, and “Get them off the runway.” The Spitfire pilot said he had been given clearance for the run-and-break, which he concluded meant “my runway”, and began his descent when he spotted the helicopter. A report by the UK Airprox Board estimates the two aircraft came within 12 metres of each other and notes: “However, he [the Spitfire pilot] was only given approval to join, not a clearance, and was told that the circuit was clear (which does not imply that the runway is unoccupied).”  In the report, the Joint Helicopter Command concludes: “The Chinook crew used effective lookout and crew resource management as barriers to a potential mid-air collision. Their swift and calm reaction upon sighting the aircraft is commendable and certainly prevented a potentially disastrous CPA.”  Also within the report, the UKAB Secretariat comments: “The Chinook and Spitfire pilots shared an equal responsibility for collision avoidance and not to operate in such proximity to other aircraft as to create a collision hazard.”

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