Accidents and Close Calls Discussion on accidents, close calls, and other unplanned aviation events, so we can learn from them, and be better pilots ourselves.

Near Mid Air Collisions

Old 22nd May 2015, 23:34
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The radio can give you early warning of what you might see if your not too busy rocking the wings
Rocking the wings is a new one for me, where do I find the guidelines for this innovative means of collision avoidance, such as how many degrees of bank angle do you rock to for optimum collision avoidance effect?
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Old 23rd May 2015, 07:07
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... younger eyes I guess.
Nice try PB84. I spotted the paraglider very early on and my eyes are older than yours!

Earlier this year, I was helping to teach ground school at my gliding club and one of my topics was collision avoidance, which made me think about optimum tactics to avoid a head-on.

Our two-seat DG1000, when flying wings level, presents a rectangular target of 18 m x 2.5 m. After rolling into a 45 degree bank to avoid an oncoming aircraft, the target is now much larger - a 13 m x 13 m square.

Since rolling the glider takes time and the collision potential is then higher, I decided that the optimum action would be a wings-level negative-g push, based on the assumption that most pilots will pull and turn.

Of course, my assumption might be false, if the other pilot is one of the students I taught or a PPRuNe reader!

The closest I have ever come to a mid-air was when doing my PPL. Flying west of Reading in a Colt at about 2000', a Hastings suddenly appeared directly in front of us and went over the top about 100' above. No time to react - I imagine the closing speed was at least 250 kts. The big sky theory saved us that time.

A second occasion that is seared in my memory is when I was doing left-hand circuits in a Chipmunk at Cosford, while Wrekin GC gliders were doing right-hand circuits onto the grass to the right of the runway. I had turned onto final from left base, when I suddenly saw a Bocian to my right, not very far away and slightly lower. If I had overshot the turn from base leg, there could have been a collision. I only had about 50 hours then and clearly, my lookout was not very good and there was no warning from ATC.
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Old 23rd May 2015, 09:22
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Maybe its a bit like a woman waggling her bum at you to get attention

I think the idea is to display as much of the aircraft to another aircraft so your more likely to see it

Head on waggling the wings will achieve nothing and this must be replaced with a vertical pull up preferably into the vertical
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Old 23rd May 2015, 19:56
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Pace, if you pull up into the vertical, whether I am in a glider or flying the tug, I would be happy....of course the glider or the tug pulling a glider has the right of way....and your plan form in ascent would of course get my attention.

But my only option in either case and what I actually did was to dive dive dive!

Like the time I was pulling up the Navy glider at Weston, and was nose to nose with a twin out of Kidlington. I saw him in good time, and turned right. He turned left. Thanks a lot, jerk! so then all I had left was dive. The Navy pilot held on to the tow, good idea because the twin only had one target to avoid instead of two. When I saw him later he said he had paid for a 2,000' tow and wanted his moneys worth.
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Old 23rd May 2015, 20:03
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Some of you reading this new thread may be glider pilots. And some may be terrain following military. And some may like to experiment, like that lovely video of mountain flying when the paraglider got in the way.

So here's a question for you. When meeting another aircraft nose to nose, both turn right. Except....
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Old 24th May 2015, 15:40
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So here's a question for you. When meeting another aircraft nose to nose, both turn right. Except....
....when you're flying on the right hand side of a valley and a turn to the right will aim you towards the terrain....
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Old 24th May 2015, 17:59
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Rocks on the right = right of way
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Old 25th May 2015, 20:20
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Closest call I ever had was on joining to land at my, then, regional airport base. Close enough to be within the CTR and in radio contact with ATC.

Angling in at 45 to the downwind I was aware of another aircraft returning from the same field as myself but from his position reports I 'knew' it to be about 4, maybe 5 miles behind. Time enough for me to get round the circuit and land, but as I began my turn onto downwind I looked over my right shoulder and saw this other aircraft absolutely head on to me and just RIGHT THERE! I stuck mine on the left wingtip and pulled, dreading the impact that would cut my tail off. It didn't come and I shudder at by how little we must have missed.

My 'orbit' would have been about a mile from the tower, at circuit height, in clear visibility yet nothing was said on the radio, not by ATC, not by him, not by me. On completing the 360 I saw the other machine tooling away on the downwind leg so, very shaken I followed along. He landed uneventfully and a few minutes later so did I.

Back at the hangar I asked "had he seen me?" "No" he said, "I thought you had landed." My reply was rather more colourful but the substance was that he then had no idea how close we had just come.

But, I wonder even to this day, how could that be? We were both on the radio, I had heard his transmissions, knew he was following, thought I knew where he was, and he could not have heard me receive a landing clearance nor my read-back, for neither of these exchanges had occurred. Was he deaf? Was he blind? How did he not see me? I was in his 'gunsight'! It's true that my aircraft is quite slender when seen from behind but it's not invisible and he was close, boy was he close. And how did he miss seeing the thing roll nearly vertical and pull away right in front of his face? What was he doing? Where was he looking?

It's hard to objectively assess but I believe that I was within about 1 to 1.5 seconds away from being centre punched by that aircraft that day and had we hit there is no doubt in my mind that neither of us would have survived.

He still flies, as do I, but if I know he's in the air I take care to keep out of his way. I believe he is, to this day, blissfully unaware of how truly close we came that day.
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Old 18th Jun 2015, 11:19
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In a Warrior,while getting an information service from Rochester ( Kent UK) I was south abeam in Cavok, circa 2 thousand feet, when I saw coming towards me in a curving arc from my 10 0'clock what I thought was a Marchetti as it had wing tip tanks.
I pushed the nose hard down, the ATPL next me looked up from his map as we both hit the roof. 'What the f+++ are you doing!'
It took me a few seconds to compose myself and reply about what about what had happened. The Marchetti vanished over the top of us.
Got on the radio to Rochester and they had no info on the aircraft in the area.
I now never trust an information service, if no one bothers to call in , then there seems little point.
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Old 18th Jun 2015, 13:30
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I pushed the nose hard down, the ATPL next me looked up from his map as we both hit the roof. 'What the f+++ are you doing!'
I got about that same reaction from my captain once, as I rolled the Piper Cheyenne on its wingtip, to avoid a hawk on long final! It's funny how the other pilot looks at you as though to ask "was there really a risk of collision?".
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 21:47
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Pilot Dar

One of the pictures which sticks in my mind was flying a Seneca Five twin to LJLJ in Slovenia one of my favourite airports

Flying at 10 K over glaciers a few hundred feet was awesome then the screen was filled with an Eagle.

I was sure it was going to hit the screen! the Eagle was huge and I would not like to estimate the wingspan.

In a split second it folded one wing and dived under the aircraft
Birds of prey rarely will hit you even if a collision seems imminent


Last edited by Pace; 20th Jun 2015 at 06:54.
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Old 25th Jun 2015, 21:30
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Today I was doing the radio work, while a friend was flying westbound VFR in extreme VMC. I had been with Sweden Radar, handed off to Copenhagen Radar, who then handed us off to Billund approach. All seemed good, with Billund having provided approach instructions, with which we were complying.

I was reviewing the arrival (first time for both of us). My friend said something with a very startled tone, as he drew my attention to our 8 O'clock. I could just about count rivets on a southbound Mooney, which had passed alarmingly under us. I'm guessing that if he ever saw us, he wet himself. Our plane is extremely visible, with pulse lights, beacon and strobes on.

I called Billund approach to ask if he had that aircraft on radar. Nope, he did not - A Mooney with no transponder on? Possible, I suppose. Then approach said that he did not have us on radar either! Isn't that what approach is supposed to be doing? We were on someone's radar, as the TXP was indicating a return.

After a vector alarmingly close to a tall tower, and then two separate requests to orbit backward in the downwind, we were asked to follow a "Tomahawk" which I later recognized as a PA-28. Perhaps my expectations were a little high, I was new once... Though I admit to never hearing the remark "radar identified" from approach, nor did I hear "I don't have you on radar". He did also say we were not in controlled airspace, so I guess we were under the blue airspace box on the GPS, instead of being in it.

So I suppose I need to adjust my expectation that "approach" refers to radar information for arriving aircraft....
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Old 25th Jun 2015, 22:32
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Here in UK if I call "xyz Radar" and "xyz Approach" replies, that means the radar is not available - either not on or no qualified controller.
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Old 25th Jun 2015, 23:56
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So I suppose I need to adjust my expectation that "approach" refers to radar information for arriving aircraft....

At Cambridge for example if you call "Cambridge approach" and they don't reply "Cambridge radar" then they can't see you because they aren't providing a radar service just now.

(If you really want the radar service I believe you can phone up in advance, giving enough notice, and ask for it, but I don't know what the cost is.)
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Old 6th Jul 2015, 21:20
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I could see the long black trail of smoke, and allowed my eye to follow them along a bit. Mistake. Two more whooshed by me alarmingly close. I trust they knew I was there...
I was flying back from Breighton yesterday with a mate who is an experienced pax. We had a call as we crossed Donny zone advising us of traffic departing Finningley. I said to him that the danger in looking in x direction for traffic that has been called is that you tend not to look anywhere else until you have spotted it. Always keep a good look out I was saying and as I looked in the other direction sure enough, a rag wing microlight was close enough for concern. He obviously wasn't showing on Donny radar.
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 04:12
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Like any other pilot who flies in busy airspace, I've had a number of those "close calls" where you see another aircraft pass very close. Sometimes there is time for an avoiding maneuver and sometimes it's over before your hands have had time to move!

Even having employed all the recommended techniques for spotting threats and making a concerted effort to remain vigilant, it still occurs. Often as not, there is no indication that the pilot of the other aircraft has seen you.

Which raises the question: How many times have I been "the other aircraft"? If that's not enough to keep one vigilant...

Do your best and encourage everyone else to do so as well. Control what you can, but realize that there are no guarantees. Big sky theory indeed!

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Old 7th Jul 2015, 18:53
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'Seems to be another...

F-16, Small Plane Involved in Midair Collision Over South Carolina, FAA Says - ABC News
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